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You have finally graduated and are ready to search for a college! This is an exciting but also an overwhelming process. There are many factors to consider. Here are a few ones to pay attention to when choosing your college.
1. The Location
You want to pick a school that is in a desirable location. Consider the climate you prefer and the different activities you enjoy. For example, if you want a place with a thriving nightlife, you may want to go to school in the city.
Another thing to consider is how far you want to be from home. Do you want to be a drivable distance to family and friends? Plus, if you stay local you might qualify for in-state tuition and save on travel expenses.
2. The Schools Academic Quality
Do some research and learn more about the college’s reputation. Use sites like BestColleges’ rankings to see how they rate in overall academics. Keep in mind you’re paying for the experience, so you want to find a reputable institution.
Another thing to check is if the school is accredited. This can help give you an edge when applying to jobs or graduate school. Also, look into the achievements of the faculty. For example, have they won any awards or been recognized for specific publications.
3. The Academic Majors Offered
When choosing your college find one with your academic major. If you know where you want to take your career, look for a school that aligns with your path. To get a sense of the department, visit the school’s website and reach out to faculty.
You might also want to check out the book “Choosing College” by Michael Horn and Bob Moesta. It offers student stories to help you select a college based on your career goals. Also, request to speak to professors in your major during the tour. However, if you’re still undecided, choose a school that provides a wide range of majors, such as liberal arts ones.
4. The Size of the School
Colleges can range from smaller to larger universities. This can impact the overall environment. For example, smaller schools usually have a tight-knit community. If you’re more introverted, this is a place where you may thrive. The smaller institutions also offer more specialized programs and hands-on learning. This gives you a chance to get to know your professors.
Yet, larger schools are good for extroverts who prefer more social interaction. These universities may have more extracurricular activities and campus events. Also, they offer more diverse coursework and professional resources. This can help you focus on a specific major and get job connections down the line.
5. The Price of the College
College can be expensive and the average tuition is about $27,330 for in-state students. So, you want to find a school that fits your budget. Keep in mind there are also scholarship opportunities and financial aid.
Compare the financial aid packages before choosing your college. Some institutions might offer work-study opportunities as well. Also, remember you can qualify for lower tuition if you go to school near your hometown. Besides the tuition, factor in costs for room and board and textbooks.
6. The Overall Environment
The campus environment is another important consideration when choosing a college. Think about your interests and personality. For example, if you enjoy art, select a college with a more creative atmosphere.
Also, if you’re more social, find one that offers Greek Life. Another thing to consider is your favorite events to attend. For example, if you are a big sports fan look for a college with a renowned athletic program. Some might even have intramural sports, which is a great way to make friends.
7. The Job Resources
One of the main reasons to attend college is to get a job after. So, look into the school’s career center. Ask about on-campus job fairs and interview opportunities. These are a great way to network and practice selling yourself.
See if they provide mock interviews or resources for internships. All these tools can help you get ahead in your career. Another thing to ask about is the counselor-to-student ratio and alumni connections.
8. Consider What Is Important to You
While your family may have their own opinions, it’s critical to go with your gut. Choose a college based on your interest. Your parents may like a school for certain academic quality. However, you might enjoy the atmosphere of another one.
Maybe it has an exciting study abroad program. Have an honest discussion about the reasons for liking a particular school. At the end of the day, your family just wants you to be happy. But, try not to have your reason be that your friends are attending. Rank your top properties for your dream university to help narrow down your choices.
Strategies for Choosing Your College
College is an exciting time to explore your passions and career goals! Yet there can be pressure to decide on the right school. So, consider some of these factors when choosing your college.