30 May 2018

Factors to Consider When Choosing a College


Are you newly graduated from high school and ready to take on the world? You may be basking in your freedom right now, but soon enough you’ll have to make some big decisions about what comes next.

Despite what your parents or teachers may say, going to university is not the only way forward. Young adults today are fully capable of learning almost anything taught in the traditional classroom on their own instead. And despite the pressure to make a choice that will supposedly define the rest of your life, be aware that you aren’t stuck in a profession if you decide it’s no longer for you.

So for those of you who have decided to dive into the college life right now but haven’t got much further than that, what should you be considering when choosing which school’s offer to accept? There are academic points to think about as well as personal ones.

Your Academic Experience--

There are myriad great schools out there with different strengths and purposes. It’s your job to figure out whether those schools align with your own strengths and purposes. Just because a college may have a great reputation does not mean it’s tailor-made for you.

Major and Career Field--

To start, do you know what you’d like to study? Without having one or two majors in mind, it doesn’t much matter where you choose to go. If you decide later on that you’d like to be a medical doctor, yet you choose to attend a liberal arts school, it will take more time and effort to get the credentials you need for medicine.

It’s okay if you haven’t chosen a subject matter yet but take into account what your interests are and what you’re good at. Then find out which majors would complement your skills at each school before narrowing it down. There are many websites available on the internet, such as study.com, that have informative articles to help you decide what type of degree is best for you. Even if you know you want to earn a business degree, researching different business degree areas is important to discover your exact specialization. Once you know your major, there are also scholarship opportunities to look into that can help reduce the cost of your education. Study.com has a variety of academic scholarships that can be found here: https://study.com/pages/Academic_Awards_Home.html

Program Rankings--

If you already know what it is you want to study, great! You’re on to the next factor. Most universities will offer standard majors across all subject matters, but just because they are available doesn’t mean they are up to snuff. Look through the specific curriculum, objectives, and outcomes for the programs at each school.

You may find that you’re fired up about the school but the program you would be in is more of a flop. Conversely, there may be a school that hardly seems prestigious enough for you, yet they house a program you are thrilled to take part in. Don’t let the grandeur of an establishment outshine the department and courses you would actually be part of.

Your Personal Experience--

It’s easy to get excited about a university and plow ahead into a new chapter, but down the line, your determination to make all ends meets may become a heavier toll on your spirit than you initially thought.

Expenses--

Check out more than just the cost of books and tuition. College can get pricey, and the fewer student loans you take out, the happier you’ll be when your education is wrapped up. Take into account what you’re willing to pay for housing each term as well as the cost of groceries, entertainment, and other items like gas for your car.

You may find dorm life isn’t for you, and the BYU-I men’s housing option would have been less stressful. Determine if you can realistically manage your expenses or if the distance from campus is worth cheaper rent. You may have some savings set aside to help offset all these costs, or perhaps you plan to work part-time.

Environment--

Yes, it’s exciting to become part of campus life, but that may wear off after a few months. So consider the geographic location of the school. Is it urban or rural? How crowded will it feel? The weather can be a huge factor if you’re not used to snow or can’t tolerate the insects of the South.

You might also find you miss home, so it’s important to look at how far away home is, how much it will cost to travel there and back, and how often you’re planning to make the trip. However, you may do just fine being away from home, in which case, that faraway school you always dreamed of going to won’t be a problem.

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