Consider Staying Close To Home
Location is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a college. If you stay close to home, you dont need to worry about accommodation, expenses, and transport. You also have the opportunity to save and are less likely to have homesickness. However, its important to take a look at what options are near you, as this isnt always possible.
Create A List Of Your Own
Its important to compile a list of universities and majors that youre considering so that you may conduct research on each. Dont limit yourself to just a few options youll want to look at as many as possible so you can make the greatest decision possible.
You can also check our blogs while researching your compiled list of colleges, we have covered all the major factors that may help you in selecting the best college as per your fit.
What Should My Major Be
When choosing a major, think about what career you hope to have, and which college major will prepare you for it. Consider the high school classes or experiences that you have done well in and enjoyed. Spend time learning about careers that relate to these areas. Try to get first-hand information by setting up a job shadow or at least an interview with someone who is in the field that you are researching. This process can take some time, so it is helpful to start thinking about this early, even in your sophomore year of high school.
Once you have chosen a potential college major, or are leaning towards a specific course of study, make sure the schools you are considering offer a college degree in your field. This seems obvious, but in all the excitement of choosing a great college, some students forget to carefully review the academic offerings for your choice of majors and minors.
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Campus Community And Social Life
In addition to nailing down a general location, its important to consider the type of campus vibe you want. Are you seeking an intense research university? What about a school with bleed-the-school-colors spirit? Do you want to attend an institution affiliated with a religion or with a strong commitment to athletics, Greek life, or the arts?
The campus atmosphere will likely be an important part of your happiness at schooland that can have a profound impact on your overall college experience. Happy students are more likely to graduate, so spend some time thinking about what makes you happy, and look for colleges with opportunities that match.
Questions to ask:
- What is the social scene like on campus?
- How do students spend their free time on campus and off?
- What are the students generally like ?
- How many students live on campus full time?
- How many stay on campus during the weekends?
- How many are on campus during breaks?
- What kinds of fun things are available to students through the school and in the community?
- How friendly and welcoming do the students and staff seem?
Graduation & Retention Rates
Another way to evaluate the suitability of a college is to make a note of its four-year graduation rates and its retention rates. If a significant number of students arent graduating in four years, thats often a red flag that theres something amiss. And, if retention rates are not in the 80s or above, youll know that a lot of students at that school end up transferring out before they finish, which is a sign that theyre not happy with what the school can offer them.
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What Is A Major Whats The Difference Between A Major And A Minor
A major is a specific subject area college students specialize in. Typically, between one-third and one-half of the courses youll take in college will be in your major or related to it. Some colleges even let you design your own major!
A minor is a secondary field you can study in while completing your major degree program. Its a specialization that requires fewer courses than a major. Minors are only required for certain degrees.
Careful Of The Deadlines
One of the important steps for how to choose the right college is keeping the deadlines in mind. Once youve determined which offer youll take, make sure you do so before the deadline! Its critical that you dont miss the deadline, as failing to do so could mean having to wait months to attend. Its possible that youll have to reapplyor, even worse, that they wont send you another offer.
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Keep Your Options Open
There are a lot of majors to choose from, so youll want to look into as many as possible before deciding which one is best for you. There are a number of ways to determine which one is best for you, and one of them is to select a major based on your personality.
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Student & Career Services
Last but not least, choose a college that grants you career services. They are supposed to guide you towards a prosperous future. Career services can aid you by offering career counseling, helping you obtain internships, or even providing opportunities to network with potential future employers.
As stressful as it might be to go through the process of choosing one school out of thousands, by focusing on some of the characteristics we mentioned, we believe you will make the right pick for yourself. There must be a school that meets all your expectations. You just have to look for it.
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Look For Schools Based On Proximity Graduation Rates Admissions And More
According to a recent survey by U.S. News, college applications incur a fee between $45 and $100. While these amounts may seem insignificant, they can quickly add up to several hundred dollars, depending on how many schools you wish to try your luck with.
If you want to save money and make the most out of each application by limiting your options to schools that meet certain criteria, College Scorecard can help you narrow down your list.
You can look up stats from just about any school youre already interested in, as well as browse schools by major, how far they are from where you live, highest graduation rates, percentage of applicants who get in or all three, among other choices.
Heres an example of how this works.
If you go into College Scorecards general search bar, youll see that there are over 5,600 institutions to choose from across the country.
However, if youre only interested in schools that offer a bachelors degree in computer science, for instance, your search results are automatically reduced to less than 700 institutions, as you can see below.
You can also refine your search even further by sorting the results by alphabetical order, graduation rate, average annual cost, and percentage of alumni who earn more than those in the same field with only a high school diploma.
The 11 Step Guide To Choosing The Right College For You
- talk to an expert
Selection of the college can be really stressful for most of the students. Moreover, taking the right decision can often be a daunting task. Rarely its an unquestionable Yes when it comes to selecting the right college. But, despite this anxiety, the rigorous selection process can be made fun if planned well.
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Make Sure They Have Your Major
Okay, so you love the location and the campus looks gorgeous. You’re ready to apply when you look at the application andyour major isn’t listed as an option. Now is not the time to reconsider that career you’ve always wanted , it might just be time to find a school that does have a specialty in the subject you really want! This goes for extracurriculars as well, especially if a particular sport or activity is important to you. Finding the right club or team can be key to finding your friends for life once you hit the campus as a fully-fledged future alum.
The Story Told By The Campus Newspaper
When you visit colleges, you hear messages carefully crafted by college admissions offices intended to appeal to visitors. Tour guides, often the cream of the schools crop, are instructed to be honest. But, theyre often the students who are genuinely happy with their school and adept at expressing their enthusiasm.
So, how do you get the real view of what goes on at a school? No college is perfect. In a visit that often only lasts a few hours, it can be hard to get the whole picture. Youre going to spend a lot of time and money at whatever school you choose. Its important to get all of the information you can.
The campus newspaper can provide a great window into the real-life on campusthe good, the bad and the ugly. Campus newspapers are uncensored by the administration. Some examples of how the campus newspaper can give you the real scoop:
One college, trying hard to shake its image as a party school, sported a large article in the student newspaper entitled, Best Places to Buy Booze Part 2. Did it take two parts? What might that say about life on campus?
Another newspaper gave front-page space to the debate on gay marriage, calling The National Organization for Marriage one of the only organizations in existence that is still fighting for discrimination in the 21st century. This points to a politically active campus open to the idea of gay marriage.
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Visit Various College Campuses
If there is a college you are interested in, and you want to know more about it, besides the individual research you do, visiting their campus can help seal the deal for you. Many colleges organize tours that allow visitors to ask questions and meet with students currently enrolled there.
Such visits can help you picture the life you might have at their school, thus helping you refine the search process.
S To Choosing The Right College
Enrolling into a college and studying for a degree abroad can take anything between one to four years, depending on the university and duration of the entire course and it is sure going to be an expensive affair. Hence, it is extremely important for students and parents alike to choose the right college to make the investment worthwhile and the experience life-changing. With the vast number of universities offering multiple course options to choose from, this is often perceived as a tedious and exhaustive task to perform. To make this simple and effort worthwhile, we have enlisted a set of parameters, which would help candidates weed out the unnecessary and choose from the most worthwhile of institutions for higher education..
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Heritage Or Modern Teaching Techniques
As mentioned above, India is home to over 1,000 higher education institutions and Universities which you can choose from. Among these institutions, you will be able to find colleges, institutes or universities that have a brilliant reputation and brand name in the industries across different disciplines. However, there are institutions and Universities that offer a great quality of education with state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities.
The question you need to ask here is whether heritage and brand name more important to you or state-of-the-art infrastructure. There are institutes, colleges and universities that offer both heritage and state-of-the-art infrastructure as well. However, admissions to these colleges will be highly competitive and difficult, not impossible, however.
Once all these questions have been answered, you will realise that you have narrowed down the list of colleges to a handful of names. You may find it difficult to narrow down the list further. But there is a solution.
Customize Your College Plan
There are so many different career paths you can take that it might be difficult to choose the best one for you. Your interests and skills can help put you in the right direction towards a career goal and the college to help you get there.
Begin the process of identifying job and career paths you may follow, based on your own personal interests and strengths. This worksheet will help you assess your skills and preferences. Write your interests and skills on this worksheet and transfer them to the College Planning Summary. Then, go to Step 2.
- Learn how your personal interests and traits fit with different jobs
- Explore your career options and the educational requirements
- Find matching careers and identify the education requirements for each career path
- Write your results on this worksheet and on the College Planning Summary, then, go to Step 3.
Once you know what educational program you need to pursue a particular career path, you’ll need to decide what type of college you need to attend andthe traits of a college or trade school you wish to attend. Developing a list of preferences will help narrow down your college search. Answer the questionson this worksheet and transfer your results to the College Planning Summary. Then, go to Step 4.
- Enroll in the Donate Life Registry to become an organ donor
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Resources And Support Systems
To foster long-term success, you should consider your needs and wants as a whole person, not just as a student.
Make sure the school can accommodate any medical conditions you may have.
Before choosing a college, make sure the school can accommodate your spiritual life and any medical conditions or special learning requirements you may have. Many students experience homesickness and other emotional challenges when starting college, so it’s a good idea to check the availability of counseling services and health and wellness programs ahead of time.
While writing and tutoring are ubiquitous among higher education institutions, be sure you can conveniently access these resources should you end up needing them.
BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.
Reach Out To Alumni And Current Students Of The College
This may be the last solution, that you will have to take in order to narrow down your list of colleges even further. Here are some ways that you can measure the true quality of the institute/college/university.
We live in the 21st century. This enables us to literally Google anything and everything we wish to know more about. You will need to Google the name of the colleges and read the reviews that have been left over by the people. This will help you gauge the truth about the University.
Being in the 21st century also helps you to individually connect with students and alumni of a college. Through social media platforms like Facebook, you will be able to contact all those who have had an educational qualification from the college. You will be able to connect with them, ask them questions and clear all your queries about the college and the education offered.
These are some of the ways that you can use to narrow down the list of colleges and courses that you wish to pursue and create a future in. However, you must know, you can change your mind and choose to pursue another course. Nonetheless, it is always better to stick to the decision that you have taken. As changing your minds means a lot of sacrifices will need to be made so that you are able to pursue the course and college of your choice.
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Fit Is Also Important
In reality, colleges have different strengths for different student populations. Some schools have produced a disproportionate number of authors, others engineers, and still others, artists or actors. The best school is one that gives you the forum to stretch your comfort zone intellectually and socially. It will challenge your thoughts and introduce you to new ways of thinking. It will prepare you to make your mark on the world. To make this determination does not mean to put like colleges on a level playing field. Instead, it means to look at them individually and to look at the quality of the output and the resources they put into getting you there.
Do You Feel At Home On Campus
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when choosing a college is whether you feel comfortable on campus, so be sure to visit. Theres nothing like experiencing the spaces where youll eat, sleep, study, and play first-hand. If you cant make it to campus, many colleges offer online virtual tours.
Intrigued by the University of South Florida and want to learn more? Visit us online to learn more about our Preeminent research university.
Jen Carlevatti is the former Associate Director of Communications for USFs Office of Admissions. Currently, she is a freelance Content Developer for USFs Office of Innovative Education. She enjoys writing blog articles that empower students and their families to successfully navigate the college admissions and financial aid processes.
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