Finding the perfect college can be a tedious task for future students. With so many schools throughout the nation and even across oceans to choose from, it’s daunting to know where to even begin. To make things go smoothly in your search, utilize these six main tips to narrow your choices effectively and without haste.
In This Post:
Curriculum & Extracurriculars
The first part of your search should be more obvious, finding the college that suits education goals. Although many students have trouble pinpointing their exact major before attending, it is vital to ensure that the institution you seek has the right majors and fields of opportunity that match your student’s requirements. It’s important to prioritize this over the face-value of the school so that your future student can specialize in what they want. Be sure to review extracurriculars and campus activities offered that may be of interest as well.
One of the biggest mistakes prospective students make is interpreting a school’s price tag as-is. The amount that a student will pay almost never matches the face-value given at a glance. Families should review student loans, scholarships, and grants accepted or offered by the college to weigh how much the true cost will be. Online pricing calculators are found on most institution websites and they are invaluable for setting your situation apart from the general public.
Region +/- Price
While it’s true that most schools’ up-front pricing is cheaper to state residents, this doesn’t paint a full picture for your student. In fact, most out-of-state colleges offer more financial aid, generous scholarships, and forgiveness programs than that of in-state universities and local colleges. A school farther away may be cheaper in the end than a seemingly less expensive, local education. See what your student qualifies for and the requirements they need to meet for financial assistance.
Most students will be nervous and overwhelmed setting foot on campus in any situation. However, some students thrive in larger colleges while others may do best in smaller institutions. Ask questions and look up the school’s populations for undergraduate and graduate students. If possible, research the student to faculty ratio to give you and your future attendee a look into how classrooms are divided. Many students prefer smaller, more engaged classes with less students.
Outside the realm of specifics regarding the education and financial aspects of colleges comes the atmosphere. This is a crucial component for a student. You want to make sure that they’ll be comfortable in their future campus and their life outside the classroom. Scheduling tours or visits to the institution is an excellent way to find out about the average student’s lifestyle at the school as well as housing. If available, reading through some student blogs or school posts may give personal insight on what you can expect to see in a school’s atmosphere.
Graduation & Future
You want to make sure any potential colleges you list have high graduation rates for undergraduate classes. This is a safe approach because school’s can vary widely in how many of their attendees actually end up graduating after two to four years. Schools like Independence University specialize in success during and after graduation. Investigate job programs offered your college or university. Many colleges enlist employers that find students job placement immediately after graduating. Others may favorable to certain companies or fields of study that give your student stronger chances of succeeding upon leaving the school.
The steps to transitioning into the right college aren’t easy. With the help of these six tips and some intuition, you can narrow down your best choices. The right mindset and refraining from a hasty attitude can ensure that you make the right choice with your student in furthering their education.