Choosing a College

There are so many options out there. It can be overwhelming if you have no clear vision of what you want. That is why you need to ask yourself a few questions before you even start.
Your First Source of Information
Your first stop when you start thinking about choosing a university will be your career and college center on your high school camps. The blog post “Your College and Career Center” goes into more details about this topic.
Is Financial Aid Necessary?
If your family cannot pay for your college experience, then financial aid is necessary to get you through. This will be the first criteria when searching for a college. Find the schools that are looking for kids just like you and apply to them. You might be surprised at how generous their financial aid packages can be. Yes, a full ride does exist.
Big versus Small Schools
You need to know your personality well enough to decide if you will thrive better in a big or small school. Some students need a small school because they need smaller class sized. This offers more personalized attention from the professor. However other students just want to be left alone and melt into the background to do their own thing. How you prefer to approach your studies will help you narrow down your college search to big or small.
Know Your Major
Universities cannot offer every major under the sun. There are just too many. While you are college searching, you should be using your college and career center resources to seriously understand what you will want to major in. You don’t want to be an undeclared sophomore only to finally find your passion and realize your school doesn’t offer what you want to study. Try to spare yourself the need to transfer and know what you want to study before you even apply for colleges. If your college ends up inspiring you to study something else, changing majors at one school is easier than transferring.
Before applying to a school, know if it is accredited. Schools that are accredited are held to higher standards and that can only help you. Don’t shy away from a more rigorous course schedule. You are going to be paying a lot of money for your education, so go to the best that you can. Also an accredited school can be a better jumping off point to graduate school of that is the path you will be going.
Safety Statistics
Some amazing schools in the United States are located in some very bad neighborhoods. You might want to seriously reconsider attending a school based off of its location. The best education in the world cannot trump your personal safety. Also, when you visit a college, take a look around. Is there campus police patrolling the campus? Do the dorms have good security?
This might seem like a funny thing to consider, but know the yearly weather for the schools you are interested in. Some people are horribly susceptible to weather and might not last a harsh New England winter or a rainy Washington state.

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