May 1, 2015

College Selection Tips | Picking the Right College

Many students just want to go to the best college possible. However, how should you define "best"? "Best" isn't simply what the rankings say. It's the school that fits your needs and preferences.

This post will help you figure out how to choose the right one.

Questions to help you pick the right college:

1. How large is the student body? Do you want a large community with a ton of opportunities, or do you want a "small town feel" where everyone knows each other? This will affect the faculty/student ratio as well.

2. How prestigious is the college? The more respected it is, the more opportunities you'll have after graduation.

3. Where is the school located? How close is it to your family? Do you want an urban, suburban, or rural environment?

4. Will the college environment expose you to new experiences? Do you want to challenge yourself in an unfamiliar environment and learn to live independently?

How to answer these questions:

1. Visit the college's website. Look at how the college presents itself.

2. Visit the college yourself. If you might spend four years there, it's worth taking the college for a test drive. Take a tour of the campus, and don't be afraid to speak with the tour guide one-on-one to answer your individual questions.

Of course, these are not unbiased sources. Any information you get from the website or tour guide is likely to present the college in the best possible light. Would a student who disliked the college be volunteering or working as a tour guide? Of course not.

For this reason:

3. Speak with current students besides the tour guide. Where do you find them? They're all over campus! Take some initiative and speak with random students you see outside or in the student center.

4. Speak with recent alumni of that college. They might be the older siblings of your friends, or they might be random people you contact through Facebook. Most likely, they'll be happy to help you. After all, they were in your position only a few years ago.

The above list of considerations is not complete by any means. Next week, I'll cover several more factors in choosing the right college.

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