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Choosing a college is a big decision, and finding one that will provide you with the best education for your career goals can be difficult. There are many factors to consider when choosing a college - cost, location, size of the school, what majors they offer, etc. To find out what colleges might work for you, do some research!
With that said, here are 10 things you need to consider when looking for your college! 👊
1. What are my career and life goals?
When choosing a college you need to first know what your goals are. Is the college conducive to your career goals? Does it offer programs that correspond with what you want to get out of your education?
You need to spend time diving into this and understand what your career goals are, what your major is, and if that college is going to be able to deliver on these promises for you.
2. Does the college offer my major?
Not every college has every major. So make sure that you are looking at the majors that college offers and know if it is what you need.
Is that college well known for my major?
If you want to end up working in a specific field, finding a college with the best reputation - based on rankings and reviews from students who have graduated from those programs can be very important.
3. What is the cost of that college?
Here's the reality, college is expensive. It is important to know exactly what your budget is for college and to make sure you choose a college that aligns with it. Taking out student debt isn't worth it, so go to a school that you can afford.
How long will it take to graduate from that college? This is another factor to consider with cost, because the longer you are there, the more expensive it gets. Anticipate spending 4-6 years on a bachelor's degree, so make sure your budget reflects that.
If your dream school is out of reach, then look at how you could afford it, there are ways to pay for college that do not include taking out debt!
4. Where is the college located?
This is a big consideration because location can play a huge role in your experience. Do you want to stay home, move away, or go out of state? If you go out of state be aware that your tuition price will double.
And I know many teens want to move away, or go away to college for the experience and to get away from home, but I encourage parents to help them understand the financial cost/obligation that can have on them later in life that may end up putting them back at your house after they graduate.
5. Are there scholarships available?
Many schools offer scholarships, finding out if that school offers them and what they are for is super important. They can help you to afford college by covering many of the costs like tuition or housing expenses.
Believe it or not, private schools tend to be more affordable than many public schools because of the scholarships they provide to incoming students. Many public or state universities don't always offer scholarships upfront, students have to apply for them separately, and they are very competitive and hard to get.
6. What is the size of the college?
The size of the college you attend matters a lot. Are there going to be enough courses for your major? Will it provide a sense of community or will you feel lost in a sea of people and finding connections with fellow students might prove difficult?
This is something many families overlook, but it can be the deciding factor between failing or passing. You want to make sure you have a community of people surrounding you, and your college provides that.
And take into consideration the class size and commute time. Large universities can have classes as large as 600+ students and it can take 10-15 minutes to walk from one class to another across campus.
7. What amenities does the college offer for students?
Does the college have a gym, library, and cafeteria? These are things you will use on daily basis, so finding out what they offer can be important.
8. What kinds of support services does the school provide for students?
Many colleges now include mental health counseling in their student support package and that is something young adults need to take advantage of. Another support service to look for is the disability services office which provides help with everything from test anxiety to IEPs and everything in between.
9. What career opportunities exist for students when they graduate?
This is another thing that you should take into consideration when finding a college. What kind of career opportunities exist for students who graduate from this school? Do they have a strong career services office? Do they help students get jobs upon graduation? What are the current statistics for students getting a job within 6 months of graduating?
What kinds of clubs and activities does the school offer to keep teens engaged in what they love and are passionate about? This can be important too because it allows them to make friends, stay healthy, and build a strong resume.
Does the school offer other ways for students to build experiences such as helping them get internships or apprenticeships?
Does the college offer a unique experience with any special programs or opportunities?
This could be a factor that makes a college more appealing to you.
Some colleges have unique programs such as military training, or even an artist in residence who can offer one-on-one time with students for writing and drawing workshops.
Maybe the school has a glass-blowing studio where ceramics are made or maybe they have their own radio station. Or they could offer study-abroad opportunities which are nice to have and can give an amazing experience and perspective to your teen.
10. Campus Safety
And finally, will your child be safe on campus? Is there a low crime rate at the school and is it safe to walk around on campus? This is a leading concern with families, so make sure to do your homework and research this, and go visit campus to get a feel for it yourself.
You can visit during the day, or go at night to get a good feel. If you want to feel extra safe, check out our self-defense workshops for teens & young adults here!
Choosing a college is not an easy thing, but you can make the process easier by finding one that offers what YOU want out of it. Make sure you do your research and ask yourself if this school will help you achieve your goals. Will I be happy here for four years or more?
Don't choose a school just because of the name, or the sports team, or even because that's where your friends are going. Choose a school that aligns with your goals and your budget, you will be happy that you did.
Need help finding the right college for your teen? Contact us today, we can help you find the right college that fits everything your teen is looking for and your budget. Schedule a free strategy call today by going here!
Here is a quick checklist to get you started with your college search...
Find the top colleges that align with your career of interest
Find the next best options for your career goals
Determine your budget
Use this website to help you with your search
Determine the resources that college offers
Find the amenities the college offers
Narrow your list to your top 5 colleges
Schedule your visits at all 5
Complete your applications
Create a backup plan if your top choices do not work out
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