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Should you pick your college based on how good your desired major is or how good the overall college is?

For example: If I wanted to go to a college with a strong architectural program yet the overall college is bad but I found a different college with a worse pogrom but the overall college is better?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Ann’s Answer

Hi Jeffrey - Great question! It all depends on what you mean by "bad". If you mean the school ranks low on the US News review, I wouldn't put a lot of weight in that. Rankings like US News usually score schools based on how low their acceptance rate is, how high their faculty is paid and how much is spent per student each year. Schools can manipulate those rankings by decreasing the amount of students they accept or throwing money into renovations or buildings without actually increasing the quality of education or resources they provide.

You shouldn't have to choose an either/or. Instead I would start with schools that have a good architecture program and then determine which of those schools are good for you. I highly recommend starting your search on niche.com by search "best architecture programs" and then using that list to narrow down your choices.

Niche grades schools on a number of factors such as price, safety, resources, faculty ratings, etc. They also provide reviews. You can then look at schools that score high based on your needs. I hope that helps!
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Caroline’s Answer

Hi Jeffrey,

There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a college, the best college for a certain field might not be the best for you. Some things to keep in mind are cost & scholarships, distance from home, size of the campus, classes offered, teaching styles, sports, and private/public. You should try to find a college that offers a good program for your major and has a good reputation, but in the end it comes down to how comfortable you feel on the campus and other factors mentioned above. And remember, you can always transfer if its not a good fit!
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Daniel’s Answer

Hi Jeffrey!

Couple of overall thoughts on what college to pick.

1. I would seriously consider going to a community college. Not only does this save you money but gives you more time to think about where you want to end up. Also, basics are basics and it does not make sense to pay for those type of classes at a university. My first year and a half I took basics at a community college and lived at home to save up money. I was also able to work a part time job and this gave me time to discover that I love business (specially operations) If I had not been given that time to think/keep looking I think I may have gone down the wrong career path.

2. Don't trust those "best university" publications. These magazines do not tell the whole story and could be biased toward certain universities. My suggestion is to visit some universities on their campus days to get a feel. Also, I would take this time to meet with current students to ask what their experience has been like. In my opinion, this is the best way to really find out what university you should attend. I visited universities that I thought would be my top two and ended up hating them by the time I left (one told our group ghost stories on the tour) One of the universities in my bottom three ended up where I attended and I absolutely loved it there! The difference happened during campus days and talking to current students.

3. Picking the right university to attend is important but knowing your career path is much more vital to your long term success. I am not saying all universities are alike but obtaining your degree in a field that interest you is much more vital to your work happiness. I have friends who work in fields completely different than their degree because they ended up hating what they spent 4-8 years learning. I implore you not to make this mistake. Really think about what you want to spend your work life doing and then once you decide go after it! Spend your time thinking about your future career and try to not get hung up on the best/right university.
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Deborah’s Answer

Hello Jeffrey!
I personally think you should go for the college with the strong program because that program will help you more in the career your trying to peruse. Going to a college that is ranked good may not have a program as strong as the college that is ranked bad.
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Diamone’s Answer

Hello Jeffrey!

I attended a school that was not only good overall, but also had top-notch accounting and journalism programs. As an accounting student, I found that being at a school with a strong reputation in accounting opened up many doors for me. Our school even hosted an annual career fair specifically for accounting students, making it easy to connect with companies in my field of interest. Plus, numerous businesses were eager to build relationships with our program, since it produced many talented job candidates. This led to plenty of networking opportunities and events for students to engage with top-notch companies.

On the other hand, there are a couple of universities in my hometown that are more prestigious (and pricier!) than the one I went to. However, their accounting programs didn't rank as highly. But given their overall prestige, I don't think students at those schools faced significant disadvantages. So, going to a highly-ranked school overall isn't necessarily a bad choice.

Ultimately, it's crucial to find the right school that will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in your chosen career. Look for schools with strong job placement rates after graduation and high pass rates for any certifications required in your field. While rankings can be misleading, attending a school with a highly-regarded program in your desired field can certainly boost your career prospects.
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