Well it is April. Only one more month until I finish freshman year of college. Who would have thought that? Big deal, you say. However, for many (like myself before I entered college), it is a big deal. It is that time of year when a special species roams randomly around the country on a quest to find a new home. This species has a varying life span. For some members of the species, they have been on this quest for two or three years. Other members of this species have been on the same quest for only a matter of months. The life span of each member of said species varies as much as the radius of geography each member traverses during their quest.
My e-mail and office phone has been pinging with notes from high school seniors (as well as their parents). I have met with many of them already. Some have met with other connections I have. These people are looking for a place to go to school that has a “big music program.” I, of course, tell them the truth: “Southern Connecticut State University’s music program is not that big yet, but it will be. You will get the same music education if you went to any other school for music – all you are doing at those other schools is paying for the name of the school and the types of professors. This school, Southern Connecticut, and its music department will help you become a highly skilled musician and student ready for success in the music world, as well as the real-world. Music is tough, but not for the people who love it. Not to mention that we are the only college and university in Connecticut to offer free private lessons for every semester as a music major or minor. We would love to have you. However, make sure SCSU is the place for YOU. Make sure it has the degree program you want. Make sure you can “see” yourself here on campus – can you picture yourself walking the grounds? Can you see yourself living in the dorms? Can you envision spending four years of your life studying in your department of choice? If not, then as much as I would love to have you in the band, SCSU is not the place for you.”
Many potential students (and friends, colleagues for that matter) look at me like I am crazy. You mean I am not making empty promises, painting the perfect picture, ensuring 100% success in order to get as many students to come to SCSU as possible? Nope folks, I am not. Here is why:
If a student chooses to come to SCSU simply because they want to be a part of the music department, then they are doing themselves a dis-service. There is nothing worse than being on a college campus and being totally miserable – being a “nothing.” How do I know this? Because it has happened to my friends and me, when I was in your shoes deciding on which college to spend my life at! I did not being my college search with SCSU. I started with UCONN, then WCSU, then CCSU. I chose institutions “because of the program” and not because it was the “right fit for me.”
I was fortunate (more fortunate) than I knew at the time. I have parents who only wanted me to be happy regardless of the angst it caused them (and Lord knows I caused them more angst than they ever deserved). I decided on Southern Connecticut State University, my new “home” at the conclusion of my college search. It was “the right fit and it has the best music program for me, in addition to the early childhood education program.”
THAT decision was the best one I ever made, and it has shaped (and will shape in the years to come) me as both a person, a professional, and a productive member of society waiting for that chance to make a difference in the world (even though I think it already is happening?)
So, here we are – another April and another season of that species roaming the countryside in search of WHO and WHAT they will become. There is not one question that I would love to have ALL OF YOU as a part of the music department and as a part of Southern Connecticut State University. With that, please make sure YOU choose SCSU for the right reasons.