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General Resource : Resources for Colleges >> 1. Choose a College

  • How to Choose a College -- 8 Steps Tips
  • How to Choose a College

    For those deciding what college to attend, the steps listed below should help. One of the most important aspects of selecting a college is knowing what questions to ask your prospective school. Check out the tips section for a list of questions to ask.

    Step 1:
    Think about what you want out of your general college experience in terms of location, programs of study, student life, class size and the student population.

    • If you know what you want to study, ask: What is the college’s program like in your field? What is it known for? How many students? How many instructors? What classes are offered? When (days, evenings or weekends?) and how(online, partially-online?) are the classes in my program offered? What will my schedule be like as a student? How long will it take me to complete my studies? Who is teaching in my area of study? What is their background (education and experience)? Can I meet with the instructors and/or the department head to find out more about the program? What have graduates of the program gone on to do? What kind of real-life opportunities might be available to me as a student in this program (hands-on activities, internships, volunteer work, opportunities to meet potential employers)?
    • If you don’t know what you want to study yet, but you know for sure you want to go to college, ask: What kinds of programs, classes and opportunities are available for students? What is this school known for? Who else attends this college? Does it have a diverse student population? What kinds of activities are available? What’s the atmosphere like on campus? What kinds of student services are offered? How easy is it to get your questions about the school answered? What resources are available to help students succeed? Can I meet with an adviser to talk about programs of study?

    Step 2:
    Consider the social aspects: the size of the school, the location, the kinds of students it attracts.

    Step 3:
    Consider the financial aspects. Get a clear picture of the costs. Factor in tuition, class fees, housing, and meal plans. Look into financial aid and scholarships.

    Step 4:
    If you aren't sure if you can afford college, ask: What kind of financial aid is available? What grants and scholarships are available not just loans? How do I apply? When are the deadlines? What other services are available to help students succeed? How easy is it to find and access resources at the college? What’s the tuition? What might other costs be of attending the college? (housing, transportation, childcare, books, activities) Are there resources available to help with these costs? What work opportunities are available? On and around campus. When and how are classes offered? Can I work and attend classes? What scholarships are available? How do I apply? When are the deadlines?

    Step 5:
    If you are not sure college is right for you, ask: Can I sit in on a class? Can I talk to other students or find out about students’ experiences? What can graduates of this college go on and do? What programs and classes are available? Are there short-term programs available? What services are available to me as a student to help me reach my goals? Are there activities, events, tours, information nights or open houses I can attend to get a better feel for what it is like to attend this college?

    Step 6:
    Talk about your options with friends, family and high school or college career counselors. Take the word of particular college employees with a grain of salt. The admissions office is their sales office.

    Step 7:
    Read Colleges that Change Lives, The Insiders Guide to Colleges by the Yale Daily News Staff, and other guidebooks. Realize that the U.S. News & World Reports are somewhat questionable since much of their criteria is subjective.

    Step 8:
    Consider all your options, look at many different schools and ask lots of questions! Don't leave a tour wishing you asked something. Remember, you have to spend the next 4-6 years of your life at this school be sure you want to go to this school, but also remember that if it's not working out, you could always transfer. If you forget to ask a question, email the admissions office or call them.

    Source: wikiHow

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