Graduating from high school may seem like the biggest academic milestone achieved, but it is just the start. The actual experience begins when you start applying for college, and choosing the right one will be one of the biggest decisions you’ve ever made in your life. College marks the way to countless opportunities to build professional and personal networks that will assist you in academic and professional pursuits throughout your life. That’s why it is crucial that you ask the right and the hard questions before settling on one.
Following are a few vital questions that will help you address factors that impact your decision to choose the best college.
1. How is the Location Going to Affect Me?
The school’s location sometimes serves as a determining factor for many students. Some students may prefer to go to college to experience their surroundings and the changing culture, while others may want to stick close to home. It would be a waste of time if you applied for Harvard from LA but aren’t willing to relocate. It can save you and the school’s administration a lot of effort if you’ve set your priorities straight regarding how far you want to go for higher studies before applying. It’s also a great idea to go and visit prospective schools before applying so that you can assess your options based on the environment as well.
2. What’s the Best Program for the Major You Have Chosen?
It would be helpful to identify colleges based on the program of your choice. Suppose you’ve decided to go for a finance major. In that case, programs like BBA in accounting or similar ones are your best bet. So, it majorly boils down to the fact that whether the school you want to go to is offering the program or not based on the major you are so inclined to pursue. The choice of program can make or break your decision to choose a college or alter your career path for good. Therefore, it would help to really give this question all your time and effort, such as doing research, reaching out to alumni, and even talking to the professors.
3. What are the Admission Requirements/Criteria?
Doing homework on the admission criteria of the list of colleges you would like to apply for will save you loads of disappointment and heartbreak. Based on the program of interest, every school has varying admission requirements. You should work on the admission requirements way before you start applying because that’s how you’ll know about the kind of grades you should be working towards or what other requirements the application may require. Visit the college’s website and make a checklist of all the correct high school courses you’ll need, portfolios, volunteer hours, internship requirements, etc.
4. How Much My Chosen Program Will Cost?
Colleges are expensive, and there are dozens of significant costs associated with them. However, pursuing a college degree is also an investment that will pay up in the long run. Nonetheless, it is incredibly crucial that you have an idea about the financial resources required to go to the college of your dreams. Every college has an estimate of expenses such as housing, tuition, etc., listed on their websites which can assist you in determining the amount you need to make it through the program. It would also help to research your potential college’s financial aid requirements and the type of scholarships available.
5. How is Social Life on Campus?
The outside of the classroom makes up a considerable part of a student’s life. You may be interested in extracurricular activities, social events, student clubs, etc., as much as you are in the academic program. That is why you must ask yourself, is the college offering the student life you want? What opportunities is the school offering in terms of exploring your hobbies and other talents? If you are into a particular sport, you should also search about the prospective college’s sports programs and opportunities. There are many things that can impact your stay at the campus, and it is vital that you explore all those aspects and count them in your decision before applying.
6. How Does the College Align With My Career Goals?
It is possible that the college you’ve applied for offers an excellent program in the major you have chosen. However, the percentage of students availing lucrative career opportunities through that program may be low. It’s not always an option to switch careers when you’ve invested four to five years of your life into a particular program. Therefore, ask yourself about the career outlook of the program and the college you have chosen. How often do students get international opportunities after graduating or whether the college has high job placement rates or not. Your career goals need to align with what the college is offering, and that is why you must be extra careful before applying simply based on the program or better student life.
7. What Are the Housing Options on Campus?
If you are going to attend college in a different state, it’s better to search for housing options beforehand. Research about the living environment on campus and how best it suits your comfort level. Ask yourself whether you are comfortable living on campus or prefer to look for a place outside of campus grounds. Since most students prefer to live in campus dorms due to quick access to classes and other campus buildings, you should take a tour and decide for yourself about the living conditions. Moreover, while you are at it, you should also search affordable meal plans and what kind of services are available on campus.
Going to college is one of the biggest highlights of every student’s life. It is the stage that sets you up for a better life and your preferred career opportunities. Therefore, it is imperative that you decide on choosing the right college for you after you’ve explored all your options and asked all the right questions. A few factors such as the above play a determining role in which college you should apply for. So, do your research, ask the right questions, and have a wonderful time in college!