College: The most expensive investment young people will make that will pay off the most.

College: The most expensive investment young people will make that will pay off the most.

From personal experience, college anything can be stressful. Whether it's thinking about majors, researching how cost-effective a school can be in a website that likes to skip around the big numbers or even deciding if you like bigger or smaller campuses can take you for a turn and get you reeling and squirming.

With my senior year of high school quickly approaching, this summer has been full of college thoughts, web-searching and visits. I've been able to explore two out of my top three colleges in person on tours and have found that the campus visits, besides extensive research, has greatly influenced my opinion on which college I will eventually attend.

In late July my family scheduled and took a visit to the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. The first of two college visits, I was excited, anxious and nervous to explore what could be in less than a year my "home away from home." The tour included a presentation in a lecture hall with facts and statistics about UMD as well as the other U of M campuses and a personalized tour with student admission workers. The medium-sized campus had a nice feel to it, and I tacked it onto my list of possibilities; I could see myself becoming a UMD bulldog.

About a month later my family traveled to St. Paul to explore Hamline University; previously I had received a phone call from a student from Hamline University. She told me enthusiastically that she loved Hamline, loving her place in the Education program. This particularly applied to me, as I want to major in Secondary Education to eventually become a high school English/ literature teacher.

This student advisor call completely changed my outlook about college and made me want to research this previously unbeknownst university. My interest was piqued and, as I would find out, would only grow.

After extensive research about Hamline University and just what exactly a piper as, I was hooked. Walking onto the campus I felt a wave of excitement-- I could see myself on this campus. We walked into the Klas Center and was instantly greeted with a warm smile, a perky "Hello!" and an extended handshake. An instant connection was created and I felt right at home. The presentation and tour only confirmed my belief that I desire a small campus in a big city as well as a liberal arts college.

I plan on applying to multiple colleges, though at this time believe that Hamline U is the place for me. It's going to boil down to costs, and if one school would offer a "no-brainer" solution compared to another.

In order to achieve my college dreams I need to work hard, apply for scholarships and do my best this upcoming-- and final-- year of high school.

It'll all pay off in the end, right?

Greer is the Times summer intern.