Choosing a college out of so many other schools can be exciting, scary, and overwhelming—often all at the same time. Unlike high school, which is usually determined by where you live, moving on to colleges offer you a much wider range of choices.
It’s an intense and overwhelming feeling, am I right?
Putting together advice from seniors, we’ve summarized several methods that can help you determine whether a university is right for you.
Assuming you already have a list of ideal universities, and these universities can help you achieve your lifelong dream, this is great. But note that you need to ask yourself several important questions. The following questions will help you figure out whether this university is really suitable for you and whether it is worth your effort to apply.
Does the school have a major that you want to pursue?
If you are already very sure of your chosen profession and future career path. Well, congratulations! The selection range is further narrowed.
Different colleges have different teaching specialties. Larger universities have a large number of projects, including national research projects, better company internships, or overseas exchange programs.
Smaller schools may not have as many majors, but one of their biggest strengths is small class and targeted teaching, and students often get to know some of their professors personally.
What about their financial aid scheme?
With 90% of college students receiving some type of financial aid, it’s one of the most important factors when choosing a school. To some extent, your family’s financial situation will determine which school you eventually go to.
It is helpful to collect more information about financial aid from universities. This funding information includes school grants, the number of students who work part-time, the average debt of students, and even graduation rates. If most of the students in the college eventually take six years or more to graduate, then a school that looks cheap is not so cost-effective. In addition, many funding programs are no longer eligible after four years of enrollment.
Is the campus the right size for you?
Do you prefer a smaller university where you know almost everyone? Or do you want a larger university where you get to meet new people all the time? It all depends on your personal preferences. If you come from a small school and like a close and united atmosphere, you can choose a smaller school. If you like to ride a bicycle around the campus, then a large school is definitely the choice for you.
Before you make a decision, try to visit the colleges on your list; it is very hard to get a sense of a school’s true “vibe” without going there in person. After all, a big school might feel “small” and vice versa.
School distance from your home
For most students, entering university will be the first time they are living away from home. You need to consider if you are willing to leave your home and childhood friends to study at a college far away. If you think you can’t live without your parents close by, then a college close to your home is your best choice.
If you want to explore the world away from home and to stay in a new environment, then go ahead and choose a city that will open up your world.
Can you accept the college as your new home in the next few years?
No matter how many times you browse a school’s website or read their brochures, the best way to decide if a college is right for you is to visit the campus.
Go to their open house, visit the school’s community, explore their extracurricular activities. Do you see yourself participating in these activities with your future new friends? Does the school also provide tutoring and career advice services? What about the dormitory? Are you comfortable staying in their dorms and sleeping in it for the next 4 years?
Develop a checklist of what you want in a college and see how each school you visit measures up. You’ll be spending some of the most important years of your life on a college campus—make sure you choose the one that fits you and can help you reach your future goals.