How to choose a college


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‘How to Choose a College’ provides useful tips for students contemplating college education and figuring out the best college for themselves. It explains about important factors that need to be assessed while you are choosing a college.

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How to choose a college

  1. 1. How to Choose a CollegeChoosing a college is one of the most crucial and stressful decisions an individual has to make inhis or her life. After all, college is supposed to be an enriching experience and everyone wantsthe best possible package. The fact that it is going to cause a huge dent in your or your parent’spocket means there is no room for mistakes when it comes to choosing a college.If you’re at sea about how to choose a college that’s the best fit for you, here are some helpfultips which can guide you.Start EarlyOne thing you should know before you begin the process of selection is there are no shortcuts tochoosing a college. It takes a long time to plan for college, and the earlier you start, the smootherwill be your transition.If you’re in high school, you can start preparing for college as early as your freshman year. Startevaluating your areas of interest, pay more attention to your grades, assess your aptitude fordifferent fields, participate in extracurricular activities that might qualify you for certainscholarships, and prepare for and take all the necessary exams early.If you’re going back to school after a few years of working, it’s best to start planning at least 12months in advance.Get OrganizedAfter you have identified a few fields in which you are interested in and at which you are likely tobe good, you can start making a list of colleges and universities that offer suitable academicprograms. There is no point going after a higher ranked college if it does not offer theundergraduate degree programs of your choice.You should have at least three to five colleges, if not more, in your final short-list. From here on,choosing a college is just about evaluating it against the below checklist. • Is the college or university accredited? If so, is the accrediting body recognized by the Department of Education? • Does it enjoy a good reputation in the academic and corporate circles? Are the degree programs offered of high quality? • Does it accept course credits from other recognized colleges and universities? Are credits earned at the school transferable? • What’s the average class size? Does the student-professor ratio leave room for personalized attention if needed? • How’s the faculty? What kind of academic backgrounds do they come from and what’s their level of experience? • Does the school encourage extracurricular and cultural activities? Are these activities diversified enough to stimulate the athletic, intellectual, and social growth of students? • What kind of student services does the school offer? Does it help students in career planning? Does it offer employment assistance to graduates?
  2. 2. • Does the location of your chosen school suit your objectives? If you plan to stay at home, is it a comfortable commute away? If you are moving to another state, does it offer decent housing options? • Does the program schedule fit into your current lifestyle? Does the college offer flexible schedules or fast-paced college degree programs to help you graduate early?Finding answers to some of these questions should help you move a step closer to your dreamcollege.Sort Out FinancesCost is a huge factor when it comes to choosing a college. Whether you go to a private college ora public university, the cost of attending college is going to be pretty hefty. You need to figure outhow you will manage the finances as early as possible.If you are lucky, your parents would have already saved for your college education. If not, don’tworry because there are several federal and state financial aid programs for whichyou can takerecourse if you qualify.It’s important that the school of your choice participates in these financial aid programs. Whatwould be even better is if it offers some in-house scholarships and grants of its own to help youfund your education if you qualify.You can seek assistance from admissions consultants to identify the grants and loans you arequalified to receive. It may be in your best interest to fill out the required forms as early aspossible as some of the financial aid may be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.