Students Should Experience What They Like And What They Dontfirst Hand
Ive worked with no shortage of students who really believe they want a particular characteristic in a school, only to change their minds once theyve experienced it.
With this in mind, the best college search might just have no real, definitive beginning. You wont announce that today is the day you will begin to define their future. Instead, youll tacitly pop onto a college campus on the way to your grandparents house simply because youre nearby. If you enjoy soccer, why not take in a game as a way to get a flavor of a given campus. Take advantage of concerts or art exhibits in your hometown and as you travel. You will learn about what you like and what you dont. For some, this very exercise may well excite you about college and motivate you to work hard.
So, like Mikey from the 1970s Life Cereal commercials, try it, you may like it!
Do What’s Best For You
1.Rushing the process.
2.Being a follower.
3.The legacy lure.
5.Youre a die-hard fan.
6.The temptation to party.
7.How a student body looks.
8.Assuming the worst.
9.Location, location, location.
10.Cost obsessions or carelessness.
12.Relying on reputation.
14.Having a one-track mind.
15.The college specializes in your current major.
How To Find Your Best Fit College
To find the right college fit for you, think about what you need in four different categories: academics, campus culture, financial aid, and career services. For 28 years, we’ve surveyed students at hundreds of colleges about their experiences on campus. We’ve learned a lotfirst and foremost, that no two students are exactly alike, and no two schools are exactly alike. That’s why we publish our ranking lists and school profiles every year: to help you compare colleges and find the best college fit for your unique personality and goals.
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How To Decide If College Is The Right Choice For You
Get your degree if you want to succeed. This is pretty common advice for students who are trying to figure out what comes next in their lives. And education is always a good solution if you want to build knowledge and skills. Plus, a degree is usually a baseline requirement for more and more jobs out there, as many people find when they hit the job market with a high school diploma in hand.
But a college degree is also a significant investment of time, money, and personal resources, so its more important than ever to make sure its the right choice for your own life. Is it worthwhile for everyone? And more importantly, is it worthwhile for you? Lets look at the most important factors to consider as you decide whether or not to go for that college degree.
Consider the debt
Any conversation about college these days has to involve the specter of staggering debt. Per CollegeData.com, the average price tag for a college education is $25,290 per year for a state college or university, and $50,900 for a private college or university. And tuition isnt the only cost to consider: housing, books, and living expenses all factor in as well.
but also consider the earning potential
While student load debt is becoming a significant national burden, its also seen as a kind of necessary evil when you look at how much college grads make vs. their counterparts who have a high school diploma or an incomplete college degree.
So is college worth it?
What are my goals?
What Is The Best Way To Find A Job
Many schools host hiring events as well as list current job openings online through a Career Center For example, students can find UP jobs posted on the University of Portland job board. Talk with an academic advisor about internships in your major. Even an unpaid internship should be considered if it will give you a unique opportunity to build your resume and earn credit.
Remember that in order to be able to be hired while at college, you will need to have the necessary identification paperwork required for completing Form I-9 and Form W4. These documents can be your original birth certificate or social security card plus a state drivers license or photo ID. You can also provide a valid passport.
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How Students Decide Which College To Attend
After monthsor even yearsof dreaming of, planning for, and applying to college, the most difficult step in the entire process can be picking which college to attend. Its one of the biggest decisions a student will ever make, so how do you ensure they make a great choice?
Of course, theres no magical algorithm to determine which school is perfect, but students can take a look at what other students are basing their decisions on. Eduventures Research recently released their annual Survey of Admitted Students, which reveals the biggest factors behind eventual college enrollment choice for high school students:
The survey covers all manners of data points from over 100,000 American high school students looking back on their decisions, but the results showed that there were definitely some common driving factors.
80% of students pointed to one of seven reasons behind their final decision: affordability, desired program, career outcomes, reputation/academic quality, value, proximity to home, and of course, that elusive fit.
So as a student is making their decision, its important to keep those seven decision segments in mindand figure out which is most important.
A few key findings for students and families:
Campus Visits In Your College Search
Imagine buying a house. You would inevitably do research online. You might even take virtual tours of the homes that appeal to you. But before you sign on the dotted line, you will need to actually walk through the house yourself. You need to step inside to see if it feels like home. And if it’s worth the investment. Its similar with colleges.
In spite of the depth and breadth of college search tools you have at your disposal, they are no exceptions to visiting campus in person. So, after you have narrowed your college list to a manageable number, its time to think about visiting their campuses.
A successful college visit will give you a real sense of what your life might be like if you enrolled thereand whether it matches what you want. Often, youll know instinctively how you feel about a campus within moments of setting foot on the quad. If you hate it, note the things that really turn you off, so you know what to look for at the next school.
The best time to visit is typically when classes are in session, the college is alive with students, faculty are accessible, and the campus is buzzing with activity. Of course, for many students and their families, summer is a much more convenient time. That’s okay too. Maybe you can make some campus stops on your way to the beach, amusement park, or family reunion. A summer visit is better than no visit at all. Most schools will have special summer visit hours too.
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What Are You Good At
Aside from your interests, you should also take a look at what youre good at. You can absolutely work through a program that challenges you, but you should know its going to take more discipline and years of hard work. Picking a major in a field youre good at can make it easier for you to succeed along the way.
Take a look at which subjects have always come easier for you and which ones you make better grades in. Do you find that youre finishing your math homework ahead of everyone else, or can you always remember what happened in your assigned literature reading? Take a look at the programs in those areas and see if any of those interest you.
How Do I Know The Best Career For Me
When it comes to selecting the best career path, lets be honest, you might not get it right the first time. In fact, the average person will change their career 5-7 times throughout their lifetime. So, if youre not sure what you want to be when you grow up. dont worry. Youre not alone!
If youre one of the millions of people still trying to figure out what career is best for you, were here to help. Below youll find a list of everything you need to find the best career for you.
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Visit A Starter College
Campus visits are an incredibly important part of your college search . However, if youre just starting and arent quite sure what youre looking for in a college, spend an hour or two walking around the closest campuseven if youre certain its not the right college for you. It can get your imagination going and help you gather your thoughts.
The College Matches You Academically
You want to be challenged in college, but being in over your head is stressful. Likewise, if your academic ability is much higher than other students, you may feel bored or our of place.
Its important to look for colleges where your academic profile is similar to other students.
If you are interested in honors coursework, make sure the college has a strong honors program. You can contact an honors program directly for more information.
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Affordable Cost Of Attendance
The cost of higher education can have long-term implications on your life, so its an important factor to consider when choosing a college. Find out up front how much tuition and fees will cost and whether there are different rates for in-state and out-of-state students.
At the same time, dont let the sticker price of your dream college scare you. Ask about financial aid opportunities and scholarships. Many times, they can bring the tuition cost down to a reasonable level. Wait until youve received a financial aid/scholarship decision from a school. Then consider your ability to pay the balance and how much debt youre willing to accumulate.
Keep in mind that the cost of a college is NOT indicative of its quality. Many state colleges provide an exceptional education at a fraction of the cost of private schools. For example, USF is a top-50 research university, and our cost of attendance is one of the lowest in the entire country! We also offer generous financial aid packages and merit-based scholarships to lower the cost even further.
Here Are Some More Questions To Ask About Your Academic Preferences:
- What are your greatest academic strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you prefer learning in a small discussion group or in a large lecture class environment?
- What was your favorite class in high school?
- How do you do with academic struggles and pressure?
- Do you take a lot of advanced classes? Whats your GPA and how does it compare to other students at your school?
- Do you have any learning disabilities or concerns that might impact your academics?
Answering these questions will help you determine the type of academic environment that will suit you best in college. Based on your answers, you can look at the class sizes at schools that interest you to see if youll end up in mostly large or small classes. Your answers will also help you focus on a realistic range of colleges based on your GPA and ability to handle academic stress. Again, check to see if schools have academic offerings that align with what interested you most in high school even if you’re not sure that you’ll pursue that interest as a major. You want to be able to take classes that you feel are worthwhile experiences even if they aren’t a part of your ultimate academic concentration.
Academics may be the main point of college, but the majority of your time won’t be spent in classes. There are many other factors that will impact your comfort and happiness while at school.
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What Makes A College Right For You Anyway
First things first: there is almost certainly more than one right college for you. Some might be reach schools, some might be safeties. In any case, when youre searching for colleges, try to remember what college should be. It’s a place where:
- You’re comfortable being yourselfbut also challenged to be better.
- You find people to talk with late into the nightwhether its because you totally agree with each other or youre debating something you care about.
- You have opportunities to study things that fascinate you, play the sports you want to play, work at internships that help clarify your career plans, and join the clubs you want to joinand you are expected to take advantage of those opportunities, because they wont just fall in your lap.
- You learn how to learn, communicate well, and solve problemsskills all employers want to see, no matter what industry.
- And you can get this kind of education without breaking the bank and taking on crazy amounts of student debt.
Speaking of college costs, heres the dirty little secret: because there are so many schools out there and a variety of financial aid to be had, you can almost always find a college that meets your needs and your budget.
Even if you’ve dreamed of going to a certain college your whole life, not checking out your other options is a mistake. Finding your perfect college match takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the end.
You Feel Out Of Place
Im not saying everyone who feels out of place should skip college. But for most people, they see this as a sign college isnt for them. And perhaps it works the same way for you too. Maybe you feel out of place in a college classroom because your heart and soul are both out there playing tag. Maybe youre just forcing yourself to be in a classroom because your parents paid the tuition or because your friends said going to college is the best thing. But what does your heart say? What does your gut say? School is always going to be there. If you feel like trying to get a degree at age 30 then go. if you feel like exploring and trying to see if you can build something of use right now, with no college education, then go. Maybe that is your place holed up in your apartment and pouring your heart into a project.
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Answer What Major Is Right For Me
Choosing a major is a big decision and one that you should not take lightly. In order to answer the question, What major is right for me? youll need to think about what you want your life to look like. What do you like to do, what are you interested in, and what do you want your work to be like?
If youd like to give yourself the best chance at success in college and in your career, check out the rest of our site at The Honor Society. We have information about scholarships and a career center to help you get the best start in life. Join today to start living your best life in college and beyond.
How Do You Decide If A Course Is Right For You
When choosing a course, have a look at the grade requirements and evaluate them with your predicted grades. Be practical with what you can succeed in if a courses requirements are a lot upper than what youre predicted, look at a unique university or a equivalent course with lower grade requirements.
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Top Factors To Consider When Choosing A College
Written by: Jen Carlevatti // Nov 16, 2017
If youre like most high school seniors, youve likely spent the last few months bombarded by hundreds of brochures, emails, texts, and social media posts with a single message: Come to XYZ College. Its the BEST! And we can prove it with all these pictures of smiling students in XYZ College gear!
Full disclosure I probably wrote some of those messages. However, to atone for blowing up your inbox, allow me to help you cut through all that marketing hype. How DO you choose the college thats right for you? What are the truly important things to consider?
It comes down to knowing yourself and what you value most. Here are some of the top factors to consider when choosing a college.
Have A Question About College
In our Ask a College Advisor series, experienced advisors provide an insider look at the college experience by answering your questions about college admissions, finances, and student life.
DISCLAIMER: The responses provided as part of the Ask a College Advisor series are for general informational purposes only. Readers should contact a professional academic, career, or financial advisor before making decisions regarding individual situations.
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Start By Taking A Career Or Personality Test
It might sound a little cliché, but if youre unsure where to begin the process, a career test might help. Many colleges have career resource centers where you can work with counselors to take the tests in person. Or, if youd prefer, you can take a test online from home.
You can take as many as you like and compare the results to see if theres any overlap on career suggestions.
Next, do some research on careers that spark your interest. The test is only a suggestion. Its not necessarily going to be an exact source of truth.