Things to Research About Colleges
I've been looking at colleges for a while now trying to narrow down what one I'd like to go to. I just want to see what kinds of things to look for that make one college better than the other. I plan on living in the dorms, so I'll definitely look at those, but other than that (and the fact that they have the major I want) I wanted some more things to look for. It'll help narrow down my list of top choices, and might add a couple other backup plans. So any ideas of stuff to research about colleges would be fantastic!
-Rigor of the college: Look for tough colleges, preferably ranked high. Rigorous colleges have strong reputations and can give you an advantage in interviews after you graduate.
-Future outcomes of their students: Look for colleges where a lot of their graduates do well career-wise. Professional jobs, high graduation rates, high incomes, high rate of getting Masters degrees, easier access to interviews/jobs in top companies.
-Location/cost: Colleges closer to you will be cheaper (since no need to stay in a dorm), and public colleges in your state will also be cheaper. But if you can afford private colleges or will be eligible for financial aid based on income/merit, then aim for colleges across the entire country.
-Strength of your major's program: Colleges may differ in the strength of their different programs. For example, if you're majoring in economics, look for a college that has a strong economics program.
-Campus/college life: Different colleges may have better/worse campuses and more/less things to do for fun. Usually private colleges have more resources to throw at making their students' college experience fun, but public colleges also have plenty to do for fun. Visit the campuses of as many colleges as possible, so you know if you'll be willing to spend 4 years there.
Do a careful analysis of any other factors you can think of, and also make sure to choose a major that will give you strong job opportunities after you graduate.
Also, since you're in Michigan, apply for University of Michigan. They're a strong college who may be cheaper if you qualify for in-state tuition.
Don't pick a school/univ because you like their football team, my son did that it was a big mistake. I paid dearly for 2 years for an out-of-state school - only to realize that studying is more important than partying/watching football. I had to bring him back to study at the state univ to get his act together. He graduated w/ honors to work at the firm on Wall Street.
If you do not want to incur substantial student loan debt, start w/ state universities unless you get a full scholarship to a private college/university.
State univ offers many options - you live in MI where you have two state universities that offer you plenty of options. If you are good and have taken many AP courses including high SAT/ACT scores - you cannot go wrong with Univ. Of Michigan - Ann Arbor campus.
It has a very good reputation and students who graduate make a very comfortable living. I know a few people who went there and did very well in their professional lives.
Also worth inquiring with the Career Center that they have connections to Alumni within that major. A school may be great and have connections to alumni in one particular major, but perhaps not in another. I was a History major, and when I went to the Career Center senior year, they said 'if you're not in engineering or economics, we can't really help you'. That would have been good to know earlier.
Lastly, beyond your major, see what elective classes they have that are available to you and what your overall requirements are beyond your major. You may decide you want to minor in another topic that could really benefit your well-roundedness and bolster your job prospects.
1. LOCATION: If you're someone who enjoys going out, exploring, and doing activities, this is important to consider since if you ended up going somewhere that's in a more rural area, then you may not have the best time as there may not be much things to do. However, if you're someone who prefers to stay-in more, then location may not matter as much.
2. TUITION: You'll be spending 2-4 years to obtain your degree, and so if you are planning on dorming, which can already be a hefty cost, it is important to note how much you'll be paying yearly. If you have to pay out of pocket, you may or may not have to take out loans, and no one likes being in debit as eventually, you will be charged interest on those. If you are luckily to get financial aid, it is possible they may not cover as much so you may still have to pay a hefty amount.
3. SUPPORT: Health is the number one. If your health is not in a good shape, not much else matters. that is why it is important to find a campus that offers a lot of support for their students, such as mental health resources, academic support, etc.
4. RANKING: It is important to be sure you don't fall into the trap of choosing a school because it's more well-known. What's the point of attending a school if you know you're going to hate it and/or not be happy there? There were schools I specifically chose to not apply to because 1) I didn't want to waste my money spending it on a place I did not care for 2) I knew I would have a hard time adjusting and would not be happy there 3) I would be more susceptible to harming my mental health
You got this; good luck! At the end, be sure you go with your gut feeling!
What kind of enviroment do you see yourself thriving in? Do you see yourself in that city living day to day? What is the cost of housing, and will you be able to have support while you're out there? Some 4 year colleges do not offer dorm living past your second year, so take a look at your options for off campus housing and renting a place or room, especially considering the city.
Evaluate the curriculum of your major. Is this school known for the major you want to pursue? If you don't know what major you want to pursue yet, take a look at their general ed courses. Some schools have an emphasis on a specific GE curriculum before you can move on to your undergrad requirements for your major, so take a look at how diverse you want to have your class selection to be.
Financial Aid/Expenses: if you will be living on campus, you need to think about all the expenses that can go into managing your day to day. Dining plans, outside groceries, books/supplies, rent, etc. Your financial health is dependent on your monthly expenses, so make sure to check how much financial aid you can get. Also, some grants and scholarships are dependent on your academic success, so staying on top of your classes will help you avoid from getting financial aid taken away.
Good luck with your search!
I will advise to never use "I'm too busy with my studies" excuse to skip out on extracurricular activities. Choose the extracurricular activities that you like. You don't need a lot, but meaningful ones are very beneficial.
There are so many things that you can use to help narrow down your college choice. Here are some that I considered:
Distance from Home: Some people prefer a college closer to home so that they can commute and save money on room and board. Others prefer colleges that are about 2 to 4 hours away so that they can live on campus and still be able to visit home as often as they'd like. Lastly, some prefer to go to colleges across the country because they don't plan on visiting home very often. You can consider whether you want to live on campus or commute. If you decide to live on campus, you can think about how far from home you'd like to be.
Cost: College comes with many costs including tuition, fees, books, room, board, personal activities, etc. You can set a budget to evaluate how much you want to spend on your education per year.
Financial Aid: Colleges will provide you with financial aid packages. Some colleges may offer you scholarships and/or grants while others may not. In any case, you can apply for FAFSA to see what federal aid you get (if any) and also review any scholarship offers you've received.
Campus: You can do tours of college campuses to decide if the environment is right for you. If you chose to live on campus, you can also tour the dorm rooms to decide if you'd be comfortable living there.
In addition to looking at schools with your major, consider researching the professors in that area and reviews students have provided on the professors. I chose one program, and they said they would support my area of studies but they didn't have the professors there with my area of focus so it can be helpful when considering several colleges to look closely at the department. The other answers regarding cost, location, and knowing what is most important provide good advice as well.
That’s a great question!
Here’s a list of things I personally considered when choosing between colleges:
1. Location (how far from/close to home do you want it to be?)
2. Are there any study abroad programs available?
3. Employment rate after graduation
4. Student satisfaction rate
5. Dropout rate after first year
6. Research professors (e.g. watch online lectures if you can find any)
7. Look at the list of societies each one offers
I would also suggest connecting with current students once you narrow down your list a bit because they are most likely to give you their honest opinion.
Hope it helps!
- Costs (in state or out of state).
- Graduation rate (rigor of the school).
- The employment rate and the level of their career services office.
1. Don't waste money at a major name university on basics. I would live at home (if possible) and knock your basics out a community college. This will not only save you money but will give you the opportunity to keep researching your carrier goals/path. As long as you stay in state most community college credits transfers to in state universities.
2. I would network with individuals who are either in college or others that have graduated to see their perspective on the university of your choice. I went to many campus days/campus tours before deciding on what university to attend. This is more work/time on your part but it will provide you a real feel for the university. I would also talk to councilors at the university while you are there to assist you in all the options.
Hope some of these thoughts/ideas helped. Good luck on the adventure!
I cannot tell from your post if you are staying in state or not. One thing that I would ask you to consider is the cost of going out of state. Even in state, taking a close look at where you are living is important. When I first went to college, I went out of state. I wanted new adventure - living in dorms in a place that had cooler weather. I ended up in a small town where the university was the biggest place by far. Within the university, lots of diversity and support. Outside of the town, the small town mentally that was at odds with my upbringing. Since I did not have a car to take me on the road, I ended up feeling trapped with little to do but school. You really need to consider what is important to you in a new place outside of the school itself, especially if you are going to a place where you have no one you know already there. Knowing what I know now I would have gone to a big city with good public transportation.