Tips for Choosing a College
Choosing the right college can be a difficult task. There are thousands of colleges and universities to
choose from and many are worthy of being considered. Here are some tips that can help you select the
1. For each potential college, find out the success rate of students obtaining employment,
especially in jobs that are related to their major. The college should have statistics to back up
their claims. Make sure the procedure used for compiling their statistics is clear to you.
2. Colleges that offer internships in some of the fields you find interesting are worthy of your
attention. Internships provide valuable experience and vital networking opportunities. Also,
companies often hire interns that perform well. Choosing a college that has faculty members
with good reputations in their field can be very useful since these faculty members can provide
paths into the working world via internships and jobs.
3. School rankings and a national reputation of academic excellence are often important factors for
potential employers. This type of information can be found on the Internet and in magazines.
Also, strong name recognition for a college is often a significant factor for employers. Name
recognition can be a more important factor in getting a job than the actual quality of education
the college provides.
4. After narrowing down the field to a few colleges, visiting each of the finalists is vital. Visiting
the campus can change your attitude about a particular school. Take the official tour and then do
some exploring on your own. It's also important to talk to as many students as you can and get
their impressions of the college. In addition, it's very important to contact a prospective school's
alumni association and find out from former graduates if earning a degree from the school was
helpful in obtaining a job.
5. Unless you are very certain of the major you want to pursue, selecting a college primarily based
on a potential major is usually not a good idea. Often, students change their minds about majors
after they have completed some college classes. College courses can help you determine what
subjects interest you as well as your aptitude for a given subject.
6. One of the best ways to learn about the quality of a college and the satisfaction of its students is
to ask about the percentage of students that return after completing their first year. Also, ask
about the college's graduation rate.
7. If you have selected several potential careers, ask potential employers for their college
preferences. You can ask by telephone or email.
8. Make a list of your important criteria and find out how well each college you're considering
meets your criteria. It may be helpful to divide your criteria list into sections labeled extremely
important, important, and somewhat important.
9. When considering an expensive, private college that has local name recognition and an
excellent local reputation, strongly consider if you will be staying in the area in which the
college is located after you graduate. Sometimes graduates from expensive private colleges
move to other geographical locations where employers have never heard of the small school
they attended. In this circumstance, the extra money spent on the education simply doesn't help
in acquiring a job.
10. If the cost of college is a significant issue, consider attending a community college for
your first two years. Community colleges are considerably less expensive than four year
colleges, and you save on living expenses by living at home. Also, the classes at community
colleges are typically less difficult. This makes it easier for you to work part-time while going to
school. You can then transfer to a four year college to pursue your major. Most employers are
more concerned about the college you attended while studying your major than the college you
attended while taking general education courses.
In addition, you should answer the following questions about each school on your list.
1. What types of financial aid are available?
2. What degree programs are offered?
3. What are the costs of tuition and housing?
4. Does the school have regional accreditation?
5. Do the departments offering your potential majors have additional accreditation?
6. What is the average class size?
7. What type of extracurricular activities are provided?
8. Does the college have dorms available?
9. What is the size of the student population?