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14 Tips For Choosing a College

May 05, 2008 By: Category: Best College Tips, Choosing a College

Choosing a college is sometimes very simple. Some students choose their dream school before they are even in high school and others have dozens of scholarships to choose from. But for most people, choosing a college can be very frustrating. Here are a few tips to help you with the college hunt.

  1. Consider what type of school is best for you. Going to a university may seem like the thing to do, but it all depends on the program you want to go in to and what you want to do with your life. Maybe a community college is a better fit for you - and your bank account.
  2. If there are a few schools that you are interested in, compare them. Do they all offer on-campus housing? How do the tuition rates compare? How many students attend the school? What kind of reputation does the school and/or program have?
  3. Consider what kind of dorms each potential college offers. How much does housing cost per year? How much do the meal plans cost? Do they offer private rooms? Are they the classic 2-bed style or are they more like apartment units? Most housing comes with high speed internet hookup, but it’s definitely something else you might want to check on before applying.
  4. If possible, visit the college(s) you are considering. Arrange a campus tour. Talk to a few students. If possible, arrange a meeting with a professor. Make a list of questions beforehand. Get a feel for the place. You’ll want to feel comfortable there if you plan to make this your home for the next few years.
  5. Sometimes, potential students will be allowed to sit in on a class or two. Call ahead to ask about this.
  6. Consider what extra curricular activities the college or university offers. These might include environmental clubs, varsity sports, student government, etc. Getting involved in a fraternity or sorority will offer other activities for after-school hours.
  7. Avoid choosing a college just because a friend, girlfriend or boyfriend is going there. This is your future, not theirs.
  8. Don’t choose a college or university because you heard it was a “party school”. (Does this tip really need an explanation?)
  9. You may want to consider a different approach to your college life. Do you thrive in a hands-on environment? You may want to consider an internship. Would you like to study in another part of the world? Maybe you would enjoy studying abroad.
  10. Talk to a guidance counselor at your school. A major part of their job is to help students choose a college and help them with the admissions process.
  11. Think about why you want to go to college. Some students benefit from taking a year off to work or travel before continuing their education. However, many students plan to go back to school after a year and never do. It all depends on your long-term goals and ambition.
  12. It has been my experience that sometimes, a family member will push you to go to a certain college or university because they went there. This should not be an important factor when making this decision. Although your family wants the best for you, it’s ultimately your decision - and your life.
  13. Don’t choose a school because of the cover photo on the information booklet. Almost all of these books have a similar photo: attractive students sitting (or, sometimes , standing) on the grass, looking like they’re having fun. (It would likely scare potential applicants away if the cover featured a stressed-out student having an all-night cram fest with 4 empty Red Bull cans nearby.)
  14. Go with your gut feeling. If you visit a school that offers your program and you feel comfortable there, send in that application.

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