Congratulations on your decision to buckle down and choose a college! You are about to make one of the biggest decisions of your academic life. Choosing a college can be easy or difficult, depending on your perspective. But, in both cases, the search must not be rushed or influenced by someone else’s decision. It must be your own.
Let’s start off answering the question of how to choose a college with one initial requirement: make a list of all the colleges you believe you have a good chance of getting into, and, of course WANT to get into. The deciding factor is personal-for some it could be the tuition and others the quality of the campus. The application process is a breeze when you’ve already done your ground work and selected a few colleges. Choosing a college may seem monotonous but think about how happy you’ll be when you receive your acceptance letter!
How to choose a college: 3 scales for comparison
So, you have a list of potential colleges that you narrowed down based on your pre-requirements. Chasing it down to a handful of colleges from a large pool is challenging. We suggest that you use these three scales for comparison:
TIP 1: A Campus Stay Over
On joining, your college campus is your new home. A planned tour organized by a college is shiny and presumptuous. Throughout such tours, only the best features of the school are highlighted. So, the only way you will get a ‘real feel’ of the institute is when you stay the night. There are some colleges which also offer a guide to shadow. In such cases you can attend classes with them, go eat on campus, and spend the night in a dorm room.
TIP 2: Talk to Alumni
The best advice you can receive about a specific college is by talking to alumni. As they’ve been former students of the chosen institute, they are better at painting a real picture on college life and class schedule. If you’re interest lies in a specific course of study, have the school connect you with an alumni working in the same field. When you connect with graduates, you gain a unique perspective. Alumni give honest feedback. If they say that they felt unprepared after they graduated, it is best to look at other options. The college may be modest in size but encourage strong connections and networking. These are the institutes that you should be looking at.
TIP 3: Take a Scheduled Tour
While such tours are organized in the best interest of the institute, a campus tour gets you familiarized with the layout. Additionally, you can interact with other applicants and students. You get an opportunity to discover the size of the class rooms and explore the list of on-campus activities.
The points mentioned here are tools to help choose a college. There are other factors which can sway the decision such as campus size, graduating options, student to teacher ratio, school rankings, work options, financial aid, and cost. Ultimately, it all boils down to the cost. Check for scholarship and funding options because you don’t want to be paying off your student loans for the rest of your career.