Planning for College
Planning for College
It’s everyone’s dream to attend one of the top brand name colleges in the country. As you start your college search, it is important to know that even though a brand name college may seem to have the winning formula for your college dreams, it doesn’t mean that the college will be correct fit for you. There are literally thousands of colleges for you to choose from in your search and that’s just in the United States. This week’s blog will show you how to begin organizing your list to find the proper college that is right for you.
Although there’s no specific format to choose a college, but you can start by asking yourself some basic questions that will help you get an idea of what will serve you the best.
- Do you want a two-year or four-year college?
Two year community colleges allow students to earn certificates and associate degrees. They also serve as a good stepping stone to a four year college if you’re looking to save money, as financial aid grants can completely cover the cost of community college. At a four year college, students can earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in a wider variety of subjects.
- Should I attend a public or private college?
It is generally believed that private colleges are more expensive, but that’s not always true. Financial aid can also ease the burden of private college fees, making it as affordable as public colleges. Attending a public college may also be less expensive than attending a private one. Public colleges and universities typically offer lower tuition rates for in-state residents.
- Ask yourself who you are and where do you want to go.
It is important that you examine yourself and your reasons for going to college before you start your search. What is your core reasoning for wanting to attend? What are your abilities and strengths that you want to build on? Do you crave personal independence or do you want to stay close to home? Speak up and talk with your peers around you and see what they say. The people who know you best will always be able to help you the most.
- Location, Location, Location.
Sit down and set yourself a limit, realistically of course, on how far from home you wish to be. This is probably the easiest way, as it will narrow down your list of schools pretty quickly. Also, not every family can afford to pay for college from across the country. While you’re looking, keep an open mind and ask yourself, how close do you want to be to home? Students do get homesick and living close to home would allow you to visit on a weekend and eat a home cooked meal if you get tired of cafeteria food. Or maybe you want to experience some independence and only come home on break. It’s also good to keep in mind that attending a school from out of state can cost you more money, if it’s the case of a state funded school, such as Temple University.
Many students have stated that the size of the campus can have an impact on their choices of why they chose a specific school. Size does matter a lot but you don’t have to go much bigger than your high school’s student body. Most liberal arts colleges have student bodies with a class size of 4,000 or less for a reason. This reason being that college is a time to explore your interests and find yourself. Smaller student communities have been found to be extremely helpful in personal exploration. It’s not the number but the value in the people that that number represents. Do you see yourself attending a college with a large student body or a smaller one? Will you be staying on campus most of the time? Do you want to meet people with similar interests or be around people with the same interests?
- The cost of knowledge.
The cost of education is always a huge concern for the average family and understandably so. But college can be more affordable than you might think. Do you have all of the facts about the cost of college? The price that you immediately see for college isn’t always the price that you pay. Most students use financial aid, which can significantly knock down the out of pocket cost for colleges. So you shouldn’t immediately rule out the more pricey colleges. All students should also always apply for financial aid, whether you think you will qualify or not. Most do, whether it be from the government or the school itself. There’s always scholarships regularly available as well that will award you money that you don’t ever have to pay back. Don’t always pay attention to the listed price of tuition.
- Compile your list of possibilities.
Think about the people you know who have met success and ask them where they went to college. In life, success often has less to do with where and more to do with experiences and opportunities encountered. Employers in the post graduate world want life experience and amazing skills, not the college’s reputation that you attended. Think about the outcomes of the student experience and you will find that colleges on the road less traveled may outperform the pedigree of a brand name college or Ivy League school.
Now that you have a basic organization of criteria, you can begin the phase of gathering information. Use the criteria to narrow your list of colleges to a manageable number (10 or less). Information can be found in guides to colleges sold in bookstores or you can search college-related websites via the internet. The best way to really get a feel for a college is by visiting the campus, taking a tour, meeting with students, attending a class, and spending the night in a dorm, if possible. It’s important to feel at home where you will spend the next four years of your life, so visiting is important. If a college is too far, you could try taking a virtual tour of the campus via https://www.campustours.com.
See how each school you visit measures up. You’ll be spending some of the most important years of your life on a college campus so make sure you choose the one that fits you and can help you reach your future goals. To read more informative and helpful articles, please take a moment to subscribe to our page to receive notifications for our weekly blog.