Doing college search to get your bachelor’s degree can sometimes be an exhausting task. You have many schools to consider and can possibly match your needs and wants. If you are in high school and preparing for college soon, here is a list of dos and don’ts to make the college search process faster.
College Search | List of Dos and Don’ts to Help You Pick the Right School
College Search Dos
Make the college search more convenient by doing the following:
1. Find a Good School
Look for colleges and universities that have excellent college rankings. To be more specific, search a school that has a high-ranking program of your choice. For example, if you want to be an engineer, do a college search for the best engineering programs within the state.
Their ranking is a reflection of not only their quality of higher education but also their level of expertise in the field you are interested in.
2. Search for Team Spirit
Going to college is not only about getting an education but also embarking on your first journey as an adult. Part of becoming an adult is learning to take pride in your decisions and socializing with the community.
Do you enjoy sports or like partaking in school-sponsored events? Choosing a college that promotes school spirit can provide you with a sense of belongingness that makes your experience more fun and memorable.
3. Consider Location
One of the important factors to consider during a college search is the location. It dictates a lot of things. Colleges and universities in more popular cities such as New York or Los Angeles will cost more than the others. A community college within the county may be cheaper than one that is in another county within the state.
Your location can also determine how quick and easy it is to adapt to college life. For those who have obligations at home, to search for colleges outside the city or the state may be out of the question. Managing time will be difficult.
Meanwhile, freshmen may thrive better if the location offers options for extracurricular activities. It has places to unwind and focus on their studies. For those who want to work, the location may provide opportunities.
4. Think about the Size of the College
A lot of students tend to underestimate the size when applying to college. It can play a large factor in your success as it facilitates the best method of learning.
Do you prefer to be in a larger classroom environment or want a smaller group? Do you need more one-on-one time? Are you okay talking in front of large crowds? The answers to these questions will help you determine which size of college will fit best with your way of learning.
5. Know Your Available Housing Options
If you prefer to live near or within the school campus, then housing makes up a significant part of your budget. When doing college search, prioritize those that have different housing options. Some colleges want freshmen to live in dorms while others promote off-campus housing.
If you expect to live off-campus, think about the types of housing close to the school. Other considerations include parking and public transportation.
For an on-campus living, be sure you are comfortable with the living arrangements. Some dorms are co-ed. There are also same-sex dorms, communal, or individual living.
6. Create Balance with Social Organizations
Attending college is a great way to meet friends, and this social interaction is important to teach you how to communicate as an adult. It may also boost your leadership and management skills.
Find out what each campus offers and the types of social events they have that interest you. Does the school offer clubs? Do they have a sorority or fraternity? Do they offer campus events?
7. Remember: Campus Diversity
You want your college to be as welcoming and as stress-free as possible. For this reason, make a college list for those that score high on diversity.
When the school is diverse, there’s more room to learn about other people’s cultures, interact with different personalities, and develop values such as acceptance, compassion, and support.
8. Know Your Financial Aid Options
With the growing costs of college, financial aid has never been more important. You want to make sure you can afford your education from start to finish.
When doing college search, find out the types of aids you can get. These may include merit aid, need-based aid, academic scholarships, grants, and student loans. The more access you have, the better.
You can then perform a side-by-side comparison. Consider the costs for tuition, books, and board. Identify how much money you have to repay monthly or after college.
College Search Don’ts
The last thing you want to happen is to spend years in a program or college you do not want in the first place. Avoid the following costly and stressful mistakes when you are doing college search:
1. Rushing into a decision
Choosing a college is an important decision that will affect your life and your future. Take the time to research and come to the most educated and informed decision.
2. Following the crowd
Following your best friend to the college of their choice may not be the best idea. Education is a personal experience. It should match your objectives, budget, and needs.
3. Choosing a College Your Parents Like
Some parents may push their alma mater on their children to create that legacy. You must remember what was best for your parents may not be the best for you.
4. Choosing Out of Rebellion
Do not choose a college just to spite your parents. Your parents want what is best for you, so do not entirely discount their decisions as a need to go against their choices.
5. Selecting a College Based on Their Sports Team
While you may be a die-hard fan, you can still be one without attending the college. Sporting events are only a small part of college life.
6. Picking a School Because of Parties
Some students like the idea of partying in college and may look at party schools as their top choices. Having an active social life is important, yet what is more essential is the learning you get.
7. Picking a School Without Visiting the Campus
All colleges will look good in advertisements because they want you to go there. It is hard to make a judgment call about colleges you have never seen. You may miss important factors such as living conditions, layout of the school, and resources the campus offers.
8. Writing Off a School Because of the Cost
You may avoid expensive schools in your college search because you cannot afford it. Cost is an important part of choosing a school, but do not forget education is an investment in the future.
In other words, make the quality of education a priority than the cost. There are many options such as federal student aid to secure funding.
9. Choosing a College Based on Majors
While it is vital to choose a college that has an academic program you are seeking, there is a chance that your major may change along the way.
College can be very expensive. Learn how to apply for a financial aid from this Federal Student Aid video:
A college search is not an easy task simply because your choice can change your life. The list above, though, should help you make an empowered decision. If you need help, you can always ask guidance from some trusted advisers such as your parents or counselors.
What are your criteria when doing a college search? Let us know in the comments section below.
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