Make The Choice That Is Best For You
Dont follow in the footsteps of anyone, including your parents! There are many reasons to choose a college. There are also many reasons NOT to choose a college. These dont-do-it reasons include following a high school boyfriend or girlfriend, following a die-hard sports fandom, or following the legacy of a parent of grandparent. If youre tempted to choose a college because you feel the need to follow some one or some thing, dont!
Picking the right college should be your choice, and based entirely on your own needs and interests, not someone elses. A relationship that is meant to be will survive, its possible to root for more than one sports team, and were pretty sure your parents will find some room for a new bumper sticker on the back of the family car.
Diversity & Intensity Of Academics
The following prompts will help you determine the breadth, depth, and rigor of academic offerings you want a college to provide.
- Are you sure about the field of study you want to pursue, or do you want to sample a range of disciplines before deciding? Many students enter college with an undecided major.
- Are you looking to pursue a pre-professional track or the liberal arts?
- How strong is the department or program you are potentially interested in?
- Do you not want to be required to take courses outside of your major?
- How many credits are required for graduation more or less than the typical college?
- How many classes are you allowed to take pass/fail in and out of your major to ease academic pressure?
- What percent of students drop out of specific academic pathways due to academic performance issues?
Things You May Think Dont Matter
These last few things may seem a bit silly, but theyre the things that will make a difference in your day-to-day college experience. Dont leave them out!
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Responding To Admission Offers From Your List Of Colleges
You must send acceptance or rejection letters to each college that sends you an admissions letter. Although acceptance rates for Ivy League schools have decreased in recent years, a high percentage of college applicants are accepted by at least one of their college choices.
Once youve made your decision, dont second guess yourself. If youve followed suggestions in this article, you will increase the likelihood of getting a good education that will be rewarding.
You Are In How To Decide Which School
If you have applied for financial aid, the first step to compare the packages. If your preferred school is offering a less generous package think seriously about what makes it your first choice. Graduating in four years with as little debt as possible for you and your parents is an important consideration. Assuming several packages are comparable, visit the schools prior to the May 1st response deadline. Many colleges host overnights or other events for accepted students and this is the time to get any final questions answers. In the end go with your gut feeling as to where you would be most successful.
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What A Great Problem To Have
If you are accepted to more than one college and you are torn about deciding among them then congratulations! Congratulations on your admission and congratulations on intelligently designing your college search so that you now have wonderful options.
That said how DO you choose? I highly recommend visiting each of the campuses and attending admitted student events. Also check out the admitted student Facebook pages and Twitter feeds for each of the schools. You can learn much more about a school once you are an admitted student and this added information can be extremely helpful to you deciding on which lucky school gets to count you as a student!
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What Is The Four
The four-year graduation rate is an indicator of the motivation of the student body at a potential college or university. You want to make sure the student body reflects your hard work and drive! You become like the people you surround yourself with, so choose a college full of focused, engaged, and motivated students.
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Student Review And Testimonial Sites
Review websites, just like Yelp, exist for higher education too, and they can be a great way to get to know your potential colleges a little better. That being said, they can also be a hotbed for stressed-out and misinformed students , so take what you read with a grain of salt. Use multiple review sites and look for patterns to get a sense of what life is really like at a collegebeyond what they tell you in a picture-perfect brochure or on an official campus visit. College Confidential is a popular option, but youll also find student reviews on sites like Niche, Unigo, and Cappex.
Important College Fit Factors
Landing on your list of best-fit schools requires you to be self-aware. What good is it for you to attend a school that doesnt provide an environment in which you will thrive and achieve your potential? Avoid getting caught up in the perceived prestige of a college. The temporary happiness that the shine of the name provides will fade quickly if the school is not a good fit.
In fact, the results of in-depth interviews of college students conducted by Harvard Graduate School of Educations Howard Gardener and Wendy Fischman, just published by MIT Press in The Real World of College: What High Education Is and What It Can Be, reveal that college students consider mental health the most important problem on campus due to the pressure of academics, followed by the stress of friendship issues and cutthroat social environments.
This research corroborates how crucial it is to be honest with yourself as you ponder the questions below. It is the critical first step to building a list of schools that meet your criteria.
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Sports & Extracurricular Opportunities
While academics are a critical component of school fit, life outside the classroom shapes the college experience and is often a source of enduring friendships. When you think about the questions below, think not only about the extracurriculars you enjoy in high school but also about the ones youd like to try for the first time in college.
- What opportunities and clubs/organizations are appealing to you? Artistic? Cultural? Social service? Advocacy? Active/outdoor? Agriculture? Religious groups?
- How important is playing a varsity sport in college to you and what division and league are you best suited to?
- Are you interested in participating in a club or intramural sports?
Create Your Own College Rankings System
Forget about the national best colleges lists for a minute. Instead, create your own college rankings to determine which schools best meet your unique criteria, whether its majors, extracurricular activities, research opportunities, Greek lifeanything. You can even assign points to these criteria and tally them up for each school. Pro tip: your college search spreadsheet can really come in handy here.
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How To Choose The Best College From A List Of Colleges
How does one choose the best college from a list of colleges when there are so many choices and so little time? A lot of work, research, and effort are involved in making that choice. Before you have that list of colleges, you must start from scratch.
One of the best ways to choose the best college from a list of colleges is to develop a list of the criteria of what is most important to you on a personal and professional level. Once you have developed that list and ranked your items in importance, you can then do the necessary research and develop a list of colleges that works for you.
Plan Your College Visits
For most students, the college visit is the most important factor in deciding on where they will go. For this reason, and because visiting a lot of colleges can get expensive, its important to only plan visits to schools that have met all of your initial criteria. You dont want your child to fall in love with a campus that is completely unaffordable or impossible for them to get into.
During campus tours, its easy to get swept up in the beauty of the campus and romanticize the school as tour guides usually put a positive spin on everything. To make the most of visits, come prepared with a list of questions. If possible, try to sit in on a class and eat a meal at the dining hall. Speak to faculty, employees and students to get a better feel of what its really like to attend this school.
For more on-campus visits, see these articles:
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More On Getting Ready For College
Still looking for more information related to college admissions? Accredited Schools Online provides a wide-ranging library of resources to help students feel educated and confident about their college journey.
Did the standard application deadline slip past you? While not all schools provide extended admissions deadlines, this guide provides advice and resources for students who are concerned they’ll have to wait an extra year to begin college because of missing an application deadline.
Degree-seekers hoping to avoid the competition and stress associated with typical college admissions often feel drawn to nonselective schools that admit students regardless of prior academic performance. If this sounds like a fit for you, check out this guide.
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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Once Accepted How Do You Decide On A College
If you have done your homework prior to applying you should have decided on these schools for very specific reasons. I encourage students to return to those reasons and start filling in more information. At the stage of acceptance you have probably learned more about the schools in relation to your initial selection criteria. Fill that information in. Now expand it. Are there new things you wish to consider now that you have been thinking or picturing yourself at those schools. Make a pro and con list for each school. What does this tell you? If there is a clear stand out school or if there are several, I suggest returning to campus for another look. It will either confirm what you believe you saw the first time or now that you are paying attention to some of these things more seriously, you might see the school in a whole new light for good or for bad. Each of these steps should help you to visualize your self in the setting better to know if this will be the right fit for you or not. Just remember to be true to who you are and not who you wish you were in making the final decision. The former will always lead to a better decision!
Take Some Time To Find Out What Your Child Really Wants
Before jumping into any search, have your child spend some significant time thinking about what it is they really want out of their education. How near or far is their ideal college? Is it in the city or the country? Does it have a large football stadium, or just the opportunity to play intramural volleyball? Does the school offer opportunities for research in a particular area?
Your child will probably not be able to come up with all the answers right away, and some priorities may shift during the search process. But taking some time for them to consider what it is they are really looking for will go a long way to focusing them on a school thats a good fit for them.
Have them also consider what majors they are considering. Focusing on just schools that are strong in a particular cluster of majors is an easy way to start your search. This article has more tips on choosing a major.
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Things To Consider When Choosing A College
Posted by Celine Ives
Four years of hard work, standardized tests and extracurriculars have led up to this moment. You have a few college acceptances in hand, and now its time to choose which one youll attend. Its exciting to have options, but its also a little scary. The important thing to remember is that no school is perfect, but by considering a few major factors, you can find the school thats the right fit for you.
Top Tip #: How Do You Like To Study
Hopefully you have some idea by now of how you prefer to study. And hopefully the answer is not by sleeping or by crossing my fingers as I walk into the exam hall. Some people prefer final exams, others like regular assignments to keep them busy throughout the year. Some like theory, others like practical hands-on application, some like to work in groups, others like to work individually. Some like to present their assignment verbally, others prefer to create written reports. Choose a course that suits your study style, and you will be more confident in your success. Or, if you want to challenge yourself, choose a course that will take you out of your comfort zone!
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Rank Your Wants And Needs
Knowing what you want and need from the college experience can help whittle down your initial list of schools. For instance, you may want a Big 10 experience with a large student body and plenty of campus activities. Alternatively, a more intimate campus with a liberal arts background may better fit your needs.
Top Tip #: Look At Your Career Prospects
Studying overseas can be expensive, so think of it as an investment in your future. And that means your career and your salary. Find out where other international students at that university have worked after graduation, and if theres an active alumni network, or the opportunity to meet industry leaders during your course.
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Are You Ready To Discover Your College Program
When picking a college, you must consider what’s important to you and your personal and professional goals.
What factors should you consider during your college search? Prospective applicants should spend some time thinking about things like degree programs, cost, location, school size, and extracurricular options. It’s also important to research a school or program’s education statistics, accreditation, and prestige. Finally, consider college fit. A flagship public institution might be the perfect fit for one student, while a private liberal arts college may be the perfect fit for another.
After researching these factors, students should schedule a college visit to get a feel for what the campus is like in person. This article provides steps for finding the right college for you.