Searching for college can be a daunting task. It can be scary to think about where you are going to spend the next 2 to 4 years of your life! Take a look at your top 12 tips for choosing a college to help ease your worries and narrow down your search:
1) Identify the degrees offered & type of school: are you looking into a four year or two year school? Or what about a trade school? Would you prefer a public or private school? Would you feel more comfortable at a Historically Black College or University?
2) Look at the admission policy & academic standards: this will help to make sure you are on track and qualified to apply
3) Determine a good location and size: do you want a big school? A small one? Urban? Rural? Suburbs?
4) Understand how diverse a school is: are other students diverse in race, background, gender, major, etc.? What areas of diversity are most important to you? Will you feel out of a place in a university that is not very diverse?
5) Research cost & financial aid: first determine how expensive the school is, including tuition, fees, room and board, books, etc. Then look into financial aid options offered by the school as well as outside sources.
6) If necessary, look into affiliations & accreditations: for certain fields or activities, such as teaching/education majors or medical fields, it may be necessary to ensure that the school is affiliated with a certain governing body or accredited so that you are able to find a job.
7) Think about your major or area of interests: do the schools you are looking into have the major(s) you want? What about the specialization such as pre-med or pre-law? Also think of looking into a backup plan incase you decide to change your mind.
8) Explore campus activities: identify if the university has activities, clubs, sports, etc. that you are interested in or that you might want to get involved with.
9) Ask about support services: does the school have counseling services? Academic advising? Career services that can help you find a job or internship?
10) Research the curriculum: you can ask to sit in on a class, see a mock study plan, or look at class syllabi to determine if the class material is suited to what you are looking for.
11) Find out about professors: determine what kind of professors teach at the school. Are they people you are excited to be learning from? Do professors/faculty teach most of the classes or is it primarily teaching assistants (TAs)? Do the professors offer research opportunities for undergraduate students?
12) Reach out if you feel lost: finding the perfect fit can seem like an impossible task! Don’t forget to reach out to a teacher, fellow, or another trusted adult who has potentially gone through the process of applying to schools!
BONUS TIP: Check out this list of colleges that offer special programs to visit the college for free - transportation included!
Watch this short clip to get ideas about even more things to consider when choosing a college.