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What are some things I should consider when looking for a college?

If I haven´t decided what I want to study what should I look for in a college before I apply?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Tirzah’s Answer

When I was deciding which college to attend, I lknew I was good with numbers but I was uncertain of a major and the school. I looked at these things:
1. Cost (ex., scholarships, grants, In/state vs. out of state fees, loans); there's lots of free money if you research and ask around...even churches or your parents workplace might offer scholarships)
2. Location (ex., big city, rural area)
3. Size ( ex., I didn't want to attend a large school so I narrowed down schools that had up to 4k students)
4. Major (ex., Business, Technology, Communications)
5. Do I know anyone there (Family, friends, former schoolmates)?
6. On campus vs. Off campus living
7. Class size ( I preferred a classroom where the teacher knows everyone in the class)
8. Reputation (what is the school best known for)
9. Graduation rate & % of students who graduate with a job (which industries or companies did your alumni move into after graduation)
10. Extracurricular activities (fraternities/sorority, student organizations, sports, etc...)

I hope you find this useful.

Tirzah recommends the following next steps:

Ask some of your teachers, parents and friends to help you identify your strengths and ask some of your family or friends members what they like about college.
Pick out 3 colleges and do a site visit to get a feel for whether you like a big school or smaller school feel
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Michelle
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Sikawayi’s Answer

Hello Michelle thank you for your question. One of the first things you need to look at in deciding on what school to go to is affordability. You may have to weigh your options and see if it may be cheaper to go to a two-year college and then transfer to a four-year college. Now if you have a scholarship or your parents are paying for everything then I would say choice the college with the best curriculum for your major. Best of luck
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Sikawayi! Michelle
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Antoine’s Answer

- what type of experience are you looking for (i.e., campus life, city campus, rural campus, student body size, etc.)
- what majors are you interested
- extracurricular activities (i.e., sports, student groups, sororities, fraternities, etc.)
- the diversity of the school
- do you want to stay near home or move away to experience another place
- price and available scholarships
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Adam’s Answer

Hi Michelle,

College offers two things: an academic experience and a social one. Having graduated just a few years ago, I'd say it's worth taking time to think through what you want from both. Do you want to learn about business while going to underground indie concerts on the weekends? There are schools with strong business programs in the heart of big cities. Do you want to study literature as part of a small community where everyone knows your name? There are liberal arts schools with class sizes in the hundreds. If that sounds like your version of a nightmare, relax, and know that football Saturday is holier than the Sabbath at most southern SEC schools (and that's the religious part of the country, so you know football is sacred).

Unlike high school, college offers a lot of freedom -- not only to study what you want, but to live how you want as well. There's no bell at 7:30am, and frankly, most classes don't even take attendance. Look at the courses being offered, because if they don't sound interesting, you probably won't be motivated to go. Ask people about campus life too, in honest terms (What do parties look like? What clubs are people involved in? etc.). Finding the right environment can make it a more special experience. And yes, you should put some thought into your future. Going to a better university does mean certain freedoms; namely, the ability to study what you want with a bit more faith in your job prospects afterwards. But that doesn't mean the better name is always the better choice. Myself personally, I chose the most prestigious school I was admitted to, but I've always regretted that I may have found a better community someplace else.

My mistakes are not meant to scare you. Nor is my fixation on a college's fit. At bottom, college is the place where you learn and grow into an adult, and that's mostly an exciting / fun experience. But it's also more open than what you're probably used to. So ask yourself, what kind of life do you want for the next four years? And take some freedom to be creative in your answer. If you want to sit on a couch playing guitar all day, there are literally schools that will embrace that and train you to be a better guitarist. And if you just want to find yourself, that's okay too. There are plenty of colleges that offer support to make that happen.

Also, don't feel too much pressure to make the "right decision." There isn't one. Different communities exist at every school, and when you're surrounded by people your own age, you're bound to find some that you like. You're also bound to change in college. You might dream of running a business empire, but then you read the Communist Manifesto in Sociology class (if you don't want to read the Communist Manifesto or learn about the Prisoner's Dilemma, the social sciences might not be right for you) and find your worldview suddenly flipped on its head. Growth is what happens when you don't get what you want. So no matter what decision you make you're bound to grow. And it's going to be a ton of fun.

So figure out what you want to do with your time and plan for that. But also know that if plans fall through, that's okay. Ultimately, you have four really exciting years ahead of you. I won't lie that they're perfect, but you're going to experience a kind of freedom you've never had and learn things about yourself you've never imagined. So all I can say is enjoy it!
Thank you comment icon I will use this advice as I prepare for my career. Michelle
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Alessia’s Answer

- what interests you?
-what do you find challenging which you could also enjoy learning?
-does this degree keep many career options open?
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Alessia! Michelle
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Baljit’s Answer

Hi Michelle,
Firstly you need to figure out what you are interested in doing. Volunteer at a place which sparks your interests. Maybe you want to do the volunteering at more than 2 places, this would narrow down the career that you want to choose for yourself. Internships are another option.

Make a pros and cons list for each career that you want to pursue. This would help you make a final decision. If you have more than one interest then you may want two consider a double major degree. This could be something you talk to you career advisor about. The advisor may be able to help narrow you interests down to size.

When choosing a college you should consider you financial package. Does it fair well with the colleges that you are interested in? You may also have to take out school loans that you have now able to forgive due to the Biden loan relief application. Location is another thing you would have to consider. You may want to live far away from home, then you would have to consider costs of living to a tee. With gas prices being so expensive nowadays you may have to think twice about living far away from home. And you might have to consider where you be staying for the school year. It could be home, a dorm or a shared apartment.

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Niko’s Answer

Hi Michelle, there are a great amount of things that you have to take into consideration when you are choosing a college that is best fit for you. Where do you want to go to college (location wise)? How much can you afford to spend on college out of pocket vs student loans? What type of community are you looking to be around? What kind of degree were you looking for? All of these can play an important role in choosing the college that is right for you. For example, when I was choosing colleges to apply to in hopes of attending, I really had the goal in mind of studying abroad in a different country. However, studying abroad is not always offered by many colleges and some have very limited options, which is why I really like Elon University as it was the top university to pursue study abroad programs in the United States. Therefore, it all depends on what you want to do. Some schools are more known to be party schools while others not so much. Typically the college you go to will not matter as much if it is accredited. However, a lot of in just boils down to what you want to do in life and what you want your future to look like. Just know that you do not necessarily have to spend a lot of money to get a good educations. Please keep that in mind! :)

I am passionate about our youth going to school and getting and education, I know first hand how difficult it was to choose the right college for me. Therefore, I decided I would look up some resources that would help you along with your journey:
10 Steps to Picking the Right School
https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/slideshows/10-steps-to-picking-the-right-school
Top 15 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a College
https://www.fastweb.com/college-search/articles/top-15-mistakes-to-avoid-in-choosing-a-college

Good Luck!!!
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Michelle
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Nick’s Answer

Written by a group of colleagues from SAP:

- It's important to pick a few schools of interest and make sure you visit them in person. Sometimes what is advertised is not exactly what you'll get, and it's important to see for yourself
- Use your gut instincts and think about what type of people you want to surround yourself with while in school
- What type of environment outside of school do you want to experience? A city, small town, etc.
- College is a time to experience culture, especially something outside of what you're used to
- Many people think that you have to pick a program of study before you can choose the right school, but in many cases you figure out what you want to do after you've had some experience at the school you choose
- A school with flexibility in curriculum could be important for those who are not 100% sure what path is right for them. Many times a student will change majors or add minors multiple times in their college careers
- Thinking about next steps after your undergraduate program (right into the workforce, advanced degree, etc.) is important before choosing your school and path. Try and pick what will give you the most room to ensure you leave room for your next steps
- Ask the right questions before you make any choices, and look for opportunities where you can before you commit. If you know you'll need financial help, ensure those steps are completed well ahead of time. Many schools have work-study programs and volunteer opportunities
Thank you comment icon I'm excited to put your great advice to good use! Michelle
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Madison’s Answer

(This has been answered by a group)

Hi Michelle! Here are a few things to consider:

1. Cost – Avoid debt when possible, consider colleges that are within your budget. Can you choose an in-state school with lower tuition?

2. Specialized vs. general degree – If you know what you're going to school for, consider colleges that specialize in that area. If not, perhaps it's worth looking into community colleges for the first few years to get your general education requirements out of the way and explore possible interests.

4. Size – Would you prefer a smaller, more intimate college experience where you have the opportunity to get to know your professors and classmates, or do you enjoy larger class sizes, more networking opportunities, and more resources? Also consider location – do you enjoy a large city or smaller college town atmosphere? Larger schools often have plenty of internship opportunities & access to extra curricular activities. Small schools offer great mentorship potential & a real sense of community.

6. Culture – If possible, visit the school before applying to see if it's a good culture fit. Each campus will have its own unique identity.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. Michelle
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hi Michelle

College is a big step, and it’s ok if you are uncertain of a desired area of study. Education is never wasted! That being said, outside of having a major in mind, here are some things you might want to consider;
1. Live away or stay local/commute to campus?
2. If live away, how far away distance wise?
3. Affordability?
4. A strong liberal arts program that will expose you to a variety of classes and areas of study. Often times we don’t know what we want until we’re doing it. You may take a class that excites you and stirs your curiosity to learn more, or you may take a class that does not sit well with you at all. Important to be open to subject matter versus the instructor. Focus on the subject matter.

Hope these tips help. Best of luck
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Elizabeth! Michelle
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Orain’s Answer

Good morning Michelle,

I hope all is well with you.

Here are some things to consider for college:

1. Location: How far is it from home and ensure it align with your preference
2. Cost
3. Expected Class Size
4. Majors and Minors offered
5. Extracurricular Activities
6. Campus Life and environment safety
7. Internship and Career Opportunities

If you have any other questions, please let me know.

I hope this helps.

Thanks

O.M
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Michelle
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Sambhav’s Answer

~ location- depends upon if you are looking for a college near to your home or far.
~ Interest and majors that you are looking for available there and is good.
~ College placements- this plays a very important role for career. hence, be vigilant while selecting the college based on placements being there.
~ College Campus and environment.
~ sufficient facilities to grow in career.
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