10 Things to Look for in a College
Choosing your college is one of the more important decisions you will make. There are so many great colleges and universities out there, but where do you start? Here are a few factors to consider when deciding on your college career.
- Available Majors First and foremost, you’re going to school to get an education. Your school won’t be right fit if it doesn’t offer the major you want to study.
- Class Size/Student-to-Teacher Ratio Its important to know what the class size will be like before you step foot on campus your first year. Are you going to be just a number in a 400-seat lecture hall, or will your professor know you by first name? Colleges will vary in size, but do not assume that a small college will only have small classes. I attend a university where the student population is 15,000. I have had classes with 200 people and I have had classes with 9 people. It can be a mixed bag, so do your research.
- Internship Opportunities Students want to be able to apply what they’re learning in a classroom setting, and apply it in a work setting to get some real experience. Some programs may even incorporate internships as part of the degree plan. While you can find internships on your own time, a direct placement program may work better with your schedule or degree.
- Academic Support Higher levels of education mean more challenging academics, but schools often offer academic support for a wide array of classes. Look at the schools you are interested in, and see what they offer. You may benefit from peer tutoring, mentor programs, or additional study sessions.
- Location Do you want to stay close by, or go out of state? If you plan on living at home and commuting to school, get involved in the communities on campus. If you chose to get away from home, what is the area like surrounding the school? Do like a big city, or do you like rural areas better? These are questions to consider when looking at a school’s location. If you can go visit a school, take time to explore what the city offers, both on and off campus.
- School Spirit/ Traditions Will you be in the first row at every home game, or would you rather watch the games from home? Maybe you love sports or maybe you don’t, but this could be a large factor when choosing your school. School with a lot of pride will completely shut down on game day. Schools with smaller teams, or no teams, may not have the same level of school spirit. It’s not for everyone, but I personally love being part of all the excitement that takes place in our athletic program.
- Student Organizations Getting involved could be joining an academic club, a service organization, a sorority or a fraternity, a club sport, or anything other club that sparks an interest to you. Student organizations can lead to great friendships, new passions and leadership opportunities. You could be the one to make a difference on campus or in other individual’s lives. I’m currently in two on campus organizations, which I hold a leadership position in both. I recommend getting involved in something because you never know who you will met and the impression you can make on the community or someone else.
- Study Abroad Programs Study abroad is a unique learning opportunity because you are not only taking classes, but you are immersing yourself in a culture that could be completely different than your own. There is so much to learn about the world, and other people. I haven’t studied abroad yet, but it is on my college bucket list.
- Alumni Network Do you want to stay connected after you graduate? Consider attending a school with an active alumni network. A strong alumni network could be an asset when looking for jobs after graduation, or just making connections after you graduate. No matter where life takes you, you know that you can always connect with fellow alumni.
- Accreditation Review a school’s accreditation before making your decision. A degree from an accredited college or university goes a long way for future employers, graduate and professional schools. Even online institutions can be accredited.
If you need help deciding on a school, selecting a major, or finding a career that fits your needs, talk with a coach about your next move – info@CollegeChoiceToday.com