Choosing where to begin your academic career is a tough question. Below are a few things I considered before choosing where I went to school and hopefully that can help some!
- Financial Impact: We got to college to expand our horizons and hopefully find a profitable career that can sustain us and our families. Comparing return on investment for a school, while not a perfect measure by any means can greatly help to focus your search. There are many resources to view ROI for schools, including here: http://www.bestcolleges.com/features/best-roi-colleges/ . But like anything else, comparing multiple resources is wise.
- Academic Fit: Making sure the schools you comprise your list of have the degree program you are seeking out helps to narrow the list as well : ) Not just the degree path, but depth of study you can achieve. Whether that is Bachelors, Masters or PhD.
- Culture Fit: I think this is the true deciding factor. Different schools have different cultures and finding one that fits your personality is the crux to finding success. I attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for a visit and instantly fell in love with the small campus feel, the extensive Alumni network, and attentive professors. The students were focused and driven and I felt like I could make an impact there. If you have the ability, touring multiple schools is a great compare.
I hope these helped and remember as well, if you choose a school and find that it just isn't meeting your needs as a student, there is always opportunity to transfer and try another opportunity. Good luck on your search!
Ian recommends the following next steps:
- Build a list of your most important qualifications for a school. The above items are simply a framework and you must determine your own priorities.