Are you are a high school senior thinking about your college options? It is a big decision that you have to make. Moreover, your choice will not only affect your academic but social life too.
While it is easy to settle for a college that most of your friends are going to, you need to think critically about this. Your choice of college will affect at least four years of your life. So, what should you look for in a campus before committing to it?
1. Campus Culture
Every student has their own experience attending a their school. Find out how alums and current students talk about the campus. If you have done or are doing a campus visit, observe the students and how they act.
Do they look stressed or are they happy? Look for the clue in the conversations you have as you walk around campus. Do they feel like a welcoming bunch?
Identify the things you may have in common with them. After all, they will be your future classmates, co-workers, friends, collaborators and partners.
You don’t have to pay through your nose to get a good and quality education. In addition to this, stress about money can also lead to mental health issues. One thing to note, however, is that private, out-of-state, and in-state colleges have different tuition fees. Look past the sticker price of colleges and research the financial opportunities available. You just might find the college with the highest sticker price could be the most affordable for you.
When it comes time to apply for merit scholarships and other financial aid opportunities, remember to observe the deadlines.
3. Transfer Requirements
If you are in community college now or took college courses while in high school, find out which courses can transfer for college credit. Check to see if you have satisfied requirements for a particular class, and if you have, make sure to submit your official transcript to receive credit.
4. Course options
If you haven’t decided on what you want to study, don’t fret. Look into college options that value independent thinking and those that will offer you different avenues to explore.
For those who are sure about what they would like to pursue, make sure the college has the specific program you would like to study. However, keep in mind that many colleges cchange their minds and change their majors in college. Look for colleges that have other options that you might also enjoy studying.
5. Type of Academic Program
You already know what didn’t work for you in school regarding academics. Determine whether the college will offer you an improved experience. Understand the registration process.
Go through the directory or course catalog of the campus. During your campus visit, try to sit in on classes. Find out the ratio of students to faculty. Know how much-individualized attention you would like to get and determine if this will be achievable at the college.
6. Graduation Rate
To help you gauge the efficacy of the school, you need to know its graduation rate. For most colleges, it’s 60 to 80%. If the college has a lower graduation rate, consider why it is so low and determine if it should still be an option for you.
It could be that students find it challenging to complete their programs or a fault in the system. Also, get to know the average time it takes for a student to earn their degree. You need to prepare yourself mentally for how long you will be an undergraduate.
7. Placement Exams
Depending on the college or university, you may need to sumbit SAT or ACT scores. You may also need to take placement exams to determine what classes you will take while you are on campus. Find out how to best prepare yourself for these tests.
Going to college is exciting. However, you need to choose whether the college is the “right” fit. Make sure to consider these things before you commit to a college.
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