Choosing the right college is one of the most significant decisions you will ever make. Where you attend college can have a lasting impact on your professional and personal lifestyle. Students who visit a college before applying have a 40% higher yield. Unfortunately, many students choose a college based on emotions or a limited set of criteria. This can’t impede you from academic success, but such an important decision needs more scrutiny. Here at six tips to help you choose the right college.
Before spending time investigating a college, ensure it’s accredited. The institution should have been vetted and reviewed to verify that its curriculum meets the basic standards for higher education. Most schools provide this information on their online portals. You can also email or call the admissions department and enquire about the school’s accreditation. A college can be regionally or nationally accredited. This ensures that your diploma can be recognized by recruiters or other institutions of higher learning.
Despite being costly, private colleges are increasingly becoming popular in the U.S. One out of 10 students attends a private school. Moreover, financial aids like student loans and grants are available for students who qualify, but the price of a college education is the one that should be considered when choosing a school. Ensure you compare the upfront cost of tuition and scholarships or grants at various colleges.
3. School Size
Colleges come in all sizes, from big state colleges that enroll over 50,000 students yearly and small liberal art colleges with less than 1,000 students. Small colleges can mean smaller class sizes, allowing you to access one-on-one assistance from academic advisors and professors. Big colleges provide diversified activities, professional resources, and coursework. Moreover, big colleges often maintain state-of-the-art research centers, nationally recognized sports teams, and well-stocked libraries.
4. Culture and Extracurricular Activities
Each college’s culture depends on its courses, extracurricular activities, programs, students, etc. Ideally, you should visit each college of your choice and check their qualities, basic facilities, and location before applying. Consider club activities, personality development workshops, and debates. College life isn’t complete without extracurricular activities like dance, sports, drama, music, etc. These activities help build teamwork, relationships, communication, and a sense of belonging. Therefore, ensure you choose a college with all the activities you’re interested in. If you’re good at any activities, you can also consider pursuing them professionally.
5. Resources and Support Systems
To enhance long-term success, you should consider your lifestyle, wants, and needs. Before selecting a college, ensure that the institution can accommodate your spiritual life and special learning requirements or medical conditions you might have. You might experience emotional challenges like homesickness when starting college. So, it’s important to check the availability of counseling services and wellness programs. Remember, the U.S. had only vaccinated 15.3% of its population against the COVID-19 Pandemic by March 2021. It may be best to choose a college with guidelines on COVID-19 prevention as well.
6. Academic Majors
If you have chosen your academic path, selecting a college that offers a major that fits that path is crucial. For example, if you want to study art history, avoid a school that doesn’t offer this program. Conversely, if you’re still undecided about your academic path, you might consider choosing a college that offers diverse majors.
Finally, and maybe the most important tip; trust your instincts. Everyone from your geometry teacher to your mom might have an opinion about where you should go to college. They might be persuasive, but it’s important to keep in mind that your college experience is no one else’s but yours. You’re the only one who knows what you’re looking for in a school.