A year or two ago, I always knew what I wanted to study in college. I’ve always been the one to fascinate about physics and astronomy. I knew that deep inside my heart I would want to study those in college. However, as time passed by (I’m a rising high school senior), I began to develop a lot of interests. I could see myself engaging in astrophysics, but also in chemistry-related and mathematics-related as well. I’d also like to take on a few foreign languages. I like to see that I’m becoming more open-minded and that I’m branching out, but I fear for my future as I don’t know how I’ll choose a major that will suit me well. My plans are to double major (or major + minor) in my main field of study and a foreign language or two. I have an interest in learning: Chinese, Korean, and maybe Japanese (although Japanese is less important to me). Chinese is something I’d want to study because it’s my cultural background and I want to embrace it. Korean is also something I want to study because of my desire to study abroad in Korea.
Aside from the many different possibilities for what I could study, I also am torn between how I should approach college. I know everyone says that the college cost shouldn’t discourage me from certain colleges that seem pricey, but I also don’t want to end up in too much debt. It seems that people in general end up with $20k to $30k in student loans after their undergraduate years. Basically, I’m considering three options, but am stuck and don’t know how I should go about picking one and following through when the college applications process starts (and it’ll be here before I know it).
Option #1) Study at a community college for 2 years. Then, transfer to a 4 year university. I’d save a lot of money by doing this, but the community colleges nearby don’t offer many options for the things I want to study (like chinese and korean, for example). I mainly fear not being able to study the things I want early on, that I’ll lose out on 2 years of good opportunities.
Option #2) Study at a traditional 4 year university or liberal arts college (considering this too) and get my bachelor’s. I’d have a lot more academic opportunities for 2 extra years if I do this rather than going to community college for the first 2 years. However, I’m worried about the student loan debts on this one, as I also plan to study abroad.
Option #3)Study at a community college or traditional 4-year university for 2 years, then transfer abroad (either China or Korea) to complete my undergraduate education. This would fulfill my desire to study abroad and learn foreign languages, but I’m not sure about the finances on this one either.
To shed some light on my situation, my parents have no college savings for me. I am a first generation college student, though. However, I’m not sure how much this’ll benefit me in the long run with scholarships; I know I might get more, but not how much more.
Basically, I’m struggling with: not knowing what to pick for my fields of study, and how I should approach college. Any ideas/advice and things to consider for this confused 17 year old teenager ?
Thanks to all who read my post.