Where to go to college and what to major in is a decision that many West students may have on their mind, and when to finalize that decision may have an important part.

Senior Addie Forton has not finalized her plans after high school, but has specific options in mind.

“I’m looking at the University of Nebraska and the University of Kansas. Probably the University of Nebraska, if all my credits are accepted, then I’ll be able to enter in as a sophomore,” Forton said.

Forton is looking into some specific majors too. Such as “business, with a minor in film studies and Chinese, or communications and I minor in business.”

Forton has narrowed her decisions, but has not finalized them, and thinks that there are benefits of waiting to decide.

“You have a lot more time to research and really make more of an educated decision, and actually looking if the college has your major,” Forton said.

However, Forton thinks that people may decide on college early because of scholarships that can have early deadlines.

“We tend to want to get those primary scholarships, where you’re automatically considered,” Forton said.

Senior Kayla Meyers has finalized her decision and plans on attending Mizzou next fall, majoring in Pre-Nursing. Meyers said there are some benefits of deciding early.

“Senior year is stressful enough, so having one choice means one less decision to make. You also are able to be looked at for more scholarships the school has to offer.”

Meyers said that she waited to finalize her decision to go to Mizzou because of money and scholarships.

“I decided once I got accepted into the Honors Program at MU because now I can get automatic acceptance into their nursing program,” Meyers said.

Now that Meyers in accepted into the Honors Program and has finalized her decision, she sees the benefits of deciding early, and said there are only few benefits to deciding late.

“I had friends who were seniors last year. Because they decided late, they were stressed a lot because they still did not know what to do. However, if you decide late, it allows you to see what scholarships you get at each school you apply to,” Meyers said.

Finalizing college decisions may be hard for some, but Meyers said that knowing your major may help narrow the decisions.

“You need to decide what kind of school you want to go to: large or small. Once you do that you should think about how far you want to go and how much that will cost you. It helps if you know what major you want to have before going to college, so you can pick the best college with your major,” Meyers said.

Senior Lauren Meyers has also finalized her decision to go to Mizzou and study Pre-Nursing.

Lauren said that she has not finalized her decision, but is knows her future plans. “I’m almost 99% sure I’ll go there. I have never wanted to be far away from home, my older sister is in college at MU, and they have endless opportunities.”

Lauren said that knowing plans is helpful because “it takes away the stress of having to deal with multiple applications and essays.”  

Even though deciding early can relieve some stress, Lauren believes that deciding late may have some benefits. “I know someone who changed schools a few weeks before classes started because they realized they would not be happy at the school they had originally chosen. They do not regret their decision and love the school they are at. Also, you know your scholarships. Since college is very expensive, it is nice to know which school is giving you the best scholarship.”

Regardless of the timing, Lauren thinks it is an important decision to think out carefully.

“Do not choose your college based on friends or your significant other. What you do in college [and leading up to it] determines a lot of what happens after, so be careful when making your final decision about where you want to go,” said Lauren. “If you know your major, find out if the college you want to attend has it and what classes will transfer over. It’s a very stressful time, but try and get help from teachers and your family in order to make it less stressful.”

Senior Jasymn Williams has decided on attending the University of Oklahoma to study neuroscience. Williams said she made her decision early.

“I would say that I finalized my decision early because most of my friends that I have talked to are not for sure of where they want to go to college or better yet, they haven’t even applied,” Williams said.

Williams said that deciding early can allow people to focus on scholarships, but deciding late can be good because “you have more time to thoroughly think about your decision.”

Even though Williams said you have more time when you decide later, it can have some consequences.

“If you decide late, that may mean that you sent in your application late, which would mean that you would be competing with more students for a spot once your application is sent in,” Williams said.

College and majors can be big decisions for West students, but when you decide may depend on what works best, whether early or late.