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Picking which college is best for you is tough but there are a number of things you can do to make your decision easier. I listed a few steps below that I think will help.
- One of the first things you need to consider is cost. Attending a school in-state will save you money vs. out-of state. Also public universities will be cheaper than private schools. In addition, living on campus vs. staying at home may be a factor for you as well. Therefore you need to determine how much you can afford taking into consideration how much you have saved up and any scholarships you may have received.
- You will also need to be realistic about the colleges you think you would be accepted into given your GPA in high school. Normally, a student applies to 3-4 schools. One school is the one you know you could get into because you meet or exceed their minimum requirements (avg. GPA, SAT score, etc.), one would be the school you think you could get into and the last is your dream school. Of course, a school may fall in multiple categories but the idea is that you give yourself a better opportunity of being accepted somewhere by applying to more than one school.
- What will your major be? If you plan to go into nursing which schools offer the best nursing programs? Once you make that list, look at the first two steps I listed and narrow down the choices.
- You have to take into consideration the type of environment you want to be in. What type of school atmosphere do you think you will thrive? I'm talking about the physical location such as east coast vs. west coast or in-state vs. out of state as well as the culture of the student body. To get a feel for the environment you will have to visit each campus you are interested in and to take a tour. Look around at the campus. Does it seem well kept and clean? Do the students seem happy to be there? Talk to some of them. If you will be living on campus what do the dorms look like? Are they far away from where you would be taking class? If so, would you have to walk or take a shuttle? What about security? Are campus police easily available in the event of an emergency? Would you want to go out of state to get exposure to a different part of the country and its culture or would you prefer to be close to home in case you get homesick or an emergency happens.
- Another important factor is financial aid. One school may be more generous with their financial aid package than another. You won't find this out until the schools you applied to send you an acceptance letter. Assuming you received more than one letter, you can compare the costs and the amount of financial aid you received from each school as another criteria to help you make a decision.