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.
A College Degree Could Also Mean Better Health
A Lumina Foundation report found that college degree holders demonstrate healthier habits than non-degree holders.
The proportion of adults smoking daily falls significantly with an increase in education, the report states, from 20% of high school graduates without any college education to 5% of those with bachelor’s degrees and just 3% of workers with graduate degrees.
The report also found a strong positive relationship between educational attainment and eating fruits and vegetables, exercising and wearing a seat belt.
Business And Information Technology
Average Salary: $56,900 to $99,100
The highest-paying careers out of college in the field of business and information technology run the gamut from computer support specialists, who provide tech assistance to company employees or customers, to computer systems analysts, who work to support an organizations overall operations through study and optimization of its computer systems, and everything in between. Individuals in business and information technology jobs work in office environments, typically with little travel required. Learning a combination of business and IT skills provides for a well-rounded and advanced knowledge base that can lead to high pay and high job satisfaction in a number of careers with faster-than-average growth projections.
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Get Paid To Watch Videos
If doing surveys isnt your thing, why not get paid to watch videos? Alright so you wont be taking in the latest masterpieces of French cinema, or the explodiest Hollywood blockbusters. Instead, youll be watching short, digestible, sponsored content in exchange for small payments.
Effectively, youre being paid to watch during your time off. While you wont be paid gigantic amounts, youll certainly make more doing this than you would watching Netflix or going out for drinks with friends.
As with online surveys, youll need to be careful to go with a video provider whos guaranteed to pay you when they promised to pay. We recommend a service called InboxDollars. Theyre reputable, have been around a while, and always pay when they say theyre going to.
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.
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Network And Build Relationships
Networking gets talked about a lot. Youâll hear âthe value of networkingâ and statistics that show its importance in getting a good job â but what is it exactly? High school teachers might say it involves business cards and handshakes, but when it comes down to it, networking is just another word for relationship-building. When youâre looking at options besides college, networking takes on a new level of importance.
For example, if you want to work for yourself, networking is just as important. Finding funding for a business, good partners to run it with you, employees, sales deals, business clients â every single one of these crucial business activities has its roots in networking.
Regardless of college attendance, make sure you are meeting new people and developing relationships. Aim to meet the people who are doing what you want to do or connected to things you are interested in. This network of friends and acquaintances can do as much for your career as a degree can.
Cheer On A Sports Team On Campus
More than likely your college has a ton of sports happening, and it’s not just basketball and football. Check your college’s sports website and see what other teams they have. I liked the few volleyball games I got to catch as it was such a fast-paced sport.
Not only are there college level sports teams that you can watch, but there are also intramural level sports teams. A lot of dorms, greeks, and others get together to form intramural teams throughout the year. If you are short on college sports, you could always join or watch those types of events.
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The Dilemma Of The Curious And Well
In his article on how to get into Harvard and the Ivy League, PrepScholar co-founder Allen Cheng talks about developing a “spike” to make you attractive to highly selective national universities.
The idea of developing a spike makes sense for students who are both dedicated to being the best at one thing in particular and who are interested in applying to the Ivy League and similarly selective universities. If attending somewhere like Stanford or Columbia is your goal, you want to have one area that you really stand out in, rather than being well-rounded.
For students who have grown up being told that being a well-rounded student is important, the fact that you probably won’t get into a top national university by being good at everything can feel like the deepest betrayal.
Now, I didn’t know any of this information about not being well-rounded or having a “spike” when I was applying to schools.
But even if I had known about this strategy, I doubt I would have opted for it, because it just didn’t match who I was as a student. Rather than that picture of one ball with a spike rising out of it, I was more like a morningstarlots of spikes going off into all different directions for all my different interests.
A morningstar, or my different interests? Impossible to tell apart!
The different directions of my interests, but with Ludwigsburg tourist attractions instead of academic subjects.
Become An Early Riser:
When you wake up early you get spare time to do everything on time. It helps you throughout your day to stay productive and do many things each day. In case you have your lectures in the morning do not miss it and try waking up early for it. Maintain the routine even during vacations so that it becomes a habit and you wake up early for college too.
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Intern With Projects Abroad
Projects Abroad is an offshoot of the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps isn’t an option for high school graduates, given that their programs require a bachelor’s degree. With Projects Abroad, however, anyone age 16 or over can join.
Projects Abroad offers short-term internships in countries around the world. You’ll be able to get hands-on experience in fields including business, international development, journalism, law, human rights, medicine, healthcare, microfinance, social work, veterinary medicine and animal care. By participating in an internship like this, you might learn more about the college and career path you eventually want to take.
Be A Postive Influence On Your Kids And Future Generations
You may not have kids and they may not be in your picture for another 5-10 years. But, whether you have your own children, have nieces or nephews, or you just want to be a good example for future generations, getting your college degree will help.
A recent poll by College Board/National JournalNext America found that a parents educational attainment and attitude toward education is now a stronger indicator of a childs educational attainment than parents income parents income used to be the highest predictor of a childs educational achievements.
Just under 60% of those with no-degree families reported finishing college, compared with almost 70% of those from families with two- and one-degrees. Additionally, 55% of children from two-degree families reported earning a college or postgraduate degree, whereas only 23% of children from no-degree families reported earning a degree.
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Best Ways To Make Money In College
Of all the items on this list, the strategies in this section will help you make the most money. In the right hands, all of these approaches are real money-makers. While theyll all take some effort to get up and running, these hustles can turn into lengthy careers with tons of opportunities for advancement if you play your cards right.
Check Transfer Requirements: Will Some Of Your Credits Transfer For College Credit
If you’re enrolling straight from high school, check to see which AP, IB or CLEP courses will transfer for college credit. If you’ve taken classes at a local community college, see if those will transfer as well, you may have already satisfied a class requirement.
Similarly, college transfer students should find out which of their courses will transfer to their new college. College transfer students should keep in mind that if their courses dont transfer, it could delay their graduation date, which could in turn delay starting careers or getting graduate degrees, like an MBA.
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How To Make Your College List
Okay. You have worked your tuchus off and used all of the college search criteria in this guide to find schools that meet all or most of your needs.
First, high five! Second, its time to come up with a list of 515 colleges that seem like a good fit for you. If you have far more options than that, keep digging with your research to eliminate choices that dont feel right or dont check off all your boxes.
Otherwise, this is the time when your college search spreadsheet becomes your best friend, hero, and favorite thing ever.
Mistake : Doing Whatever It Takes To Maximize Test Scores
When it comes to college admissions, of course SAT and ACT scores matter. But Shemmassian explains that focusing or over-focusing on standardized tests takes away time from what truly matters, which is building that unique extracurricular profile to stand out.
When students spend years enrolled in test-prep courses and devote hours studying for, taking, and retaking these tests for the sake of a few more points, they are using up time that would be better spent deepening their experiences within some area of interest. And even if a student does attain those perfect scores, without anything else to differentiate him, he simply wont stand out.
Its important to remember that its not all 1600 scores who are going to Ivy League schools.
Instead, students should take a more reasonable approach that values a good test score, but not at the expense of other activities: Pick a period of time to really focus on test prepShemmassian recommends about a semesterduring which time a student should study intensely, take the ACT or SAT a few times and shoot for a score between the 25th and 75th percentiles of admitted applicants at their schools of choice.
Once these first two mistakes are out of the wayonce a student is no longer spending every hour of their free time studying for tests or maximizing their course loadhow that student spends the remaining time is what will make the biggest difference to college admissions officers.
Most In Demand Degrees In 2021
When you enroll in college, youll have to at some point, and what is the best degree to get. While it is all too common for students to change their major during their college career, the job prospects and career growth potential in the global economy deems what majors are considered to be the best degrees to get.
While it is of utmost importance that you choose a degree that youre genuinely interested in and see yourself in a related career, it is also useful to know what are the top degrees in demand so that when you graduate, your chances of landing a job naturally increase.
Living With Your Best Friends
Your freshman year roommate probably wonât become your best friend the same is true of the roommates youâll have after you graduate. During the college years in which you get to pick your own roommates, though, youâll probably have your best friends around pretty much all the time â and itâs kind of fabulous. Some of my favorite memories from college involve impromptu gatherings around our kitchen table, random trips to nearby 24-hour diners, and all sorts of other things you can only do when you live with your favorite people.
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Attend A College Formal Dance
College definitely isnt all about studying, theres lots of social fun to be had too. Get all decked out in your best dress or suit and attend a formal dance. It is the perfect way to meet new friends or reconnect with ones you havent seen in awhile because youve been so busy studying.
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.
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You Will Begin To Learn How To Forgive People Who Have Wronged You
This is perhaps one of the most challenging tasks we face in life, but it is one we begin to learn to cope with during college, as we become semi-adults and the way we treat other people becomes much more serious than before. Though it may not be necessary to forget our grudges, we will learn how to gradually forgive them rather than let our anger or pain eat away at us. We will begin to realize that one mistake should not tarnish someone forever in our eyes that their actions only reflect the fact that they are just as flawed as we are.
Become A Server At A Local Restaurant
For some, this may be one of the most lucrative jobs available to college students, and not because of the base salary. Servers often earn less than minimum wage. However, as you may have already learned, many server jobs more than make up for that low base salary in the form of tips.
The amount of money you earn in tips will depend heavily on a wide variety of factors: the restaurant at which you work, the clientele you serve, the location youre in, and your personality and skills. However, the right person in the right job can easily earn hundreds of dollars per night in tips.
Remember to always report your tip income to your national taxing authority. Failure to do so can result in penalties, interest, and orders for retroactive payment of deemed income taxes.
Editors note:As of this writing, COVID-19 has deeply affected the restaurant industry in a variety of ways, including reducing the number of server positions available at most dine-in restaurants. We strongly encourage you to stay in contact with restaurants youre interested in working for, as the restaurant industry continues to face major changes and challenges as a result of the pandemic.
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College Graduates Earn More On Average
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , workers with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $468 per week than workers with only a high school diploma – a higher salary that can add up over the course of your lifetime. A 2015 report from the U.S. Department of Education found the average worker with a bachelor’s degree may earn approximately $1 million more than a worker without a postsecondary education.
Become A Resident Assistant
The resident assistant assists students in adjusting to the social and academic world of university or college. As this transition is frequently a difficult one, RAs must be empathetic, friendly, and supportive.
While it helps to be a socially extroverted type in this sort of role, introverts arent necessarily disqualified. A willingness to lend an ear to a student whos having a hard time and needs some support is more important than making tons of friends and connections around campus.
This job might be ideal for someone going into one of the helping fields that require an ability to facilitate the wellbeing of others.
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