The move toward college might be one of the biggest steps in your life. Deciding whether to go to college is stressful enough; going through with it is a whole different ball game. Especially if you come from a family where the idea of college wasn’t always promoted. However, if you have come across this article, chances are you are ready to take a step towards success and pursue a college degree. However, people rarely talk about what makes a good college. Most people don’t know the difference between good colleges and average ones.
This article aims to help new students identify great colleges to help them navigate the application process. With that said, understand that these are general guidelines and several technical factors affect a college’s ranking.
What you can expect from this article is a general guideline that will help you narrow down the right university and help you clear your head. By the end of this article, you should have a general idea about what to look out for when picking a college.
Here are five things we think you should consider.
Do they align with what you want to do?
There are hundreds of colleges in the US from which you can choose. However, there are a handful of options depending on what you want to do. If you find yourself pursuing somewhat diverse degree options, the options may be a bit narrower than what you are used to. Checking out campus finders for a college lookup might be a great idea.
Once you punch in what you want to study, it narrows down the options and tells you what the best option in your area may be.
Using this tool takes away the hassle of manually going through college websites and finding out whether they offer what you want. It gives you better insight into the university and helps you understand the values and what campus life would be like. With that said, it’s also important to visit the website once your narrow things down.
It’s always nice to have a university nearby, or in the city you currently live in. Though the college experience dictates that you move away from home for a while, more students are opting to stay closer to home. This can be to save costs or spend more time with their families.
There is no one-size-fits-all plan for going to college. Some people want what others don’t. Distance is a very real issue for people who don’t want to leave the nest and stay close to their families. Therefore, consider looking in the immediate vicinity before expanding your search wider if you find yourself looking for a university. Depending on where you live, there could be several great colleges nearby that you could opt for.
Commuting to a neighboring town or moving through the city is considerably easier than paying for rent, travel, and food when living on your own. Weigh the options, keep your interest in mind and gauge whether you want to stay close to home or move away. After all, you will receive the same piece of paper after four years as everyone else will.
Unfortunately, we live in a time where the most popular name on your resume will often get you further in your career. It’s not enough to have gone to college and aced your time; employers now want to see people from the most reputable universities with the biggest names behind them.
As sad as it is, it would be wise to jump onto the bandwagon if you have the chance. If you can find a relatively popular college with solid standing, go for it. It may cost you a bit more, but you are the one who will gain from the current situation in the long run.
If you can’t go to the best of the best, find something in the middle that suits your needs, has a name, and fits your budget.
Research the faculty
These are the people that you will be studying from for the next four years of your life. Four years isn’t a short time, and it would be wise for you to research the professors/ lecturers and gauge what they are all about. Most teachers have a reasonable degree of popularity if they are teaching at a college. Therefore, consider googling them or checking their LinkedIn to see if this is the place you want to go.
Once you get a general idea of what the faculty is like, you can start envisioning yourself in the college. Knowing a little bit about the person who is going to be teaching you is a major step in the right direction and helps alleviate some of the detachment that comes with the college selection process.
Let’s be honest, you are young, you’re going to college, and you want to have fun. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a movie-like college experience. These are precious years of your life that you will never get back; therefore, it would be wise for you to talk to students that are currently enrolled or have graduated in the past. Understanding the college culture is another way to help envision yourself in the place and avoid the detachment we talked about. Moreover, hearing about other interpersonal experiences is a great way to help make decisions about a college.
Gauge whether this is the college for you. Can you adjust to the people? The culture? Is the campus everything you wanted it to be? These are all real factors that you need to consider. If you are going to pay tens of thousands of dollars after four years, you might as well be picky about things that matter to you.
There we have five things you want to look out for in a college, from aligning the location with your needs to gauging the campus life and various factors in between.
Though it may seem straightforward, decisions like this are extremely stressful and require informed decision-making.
We wish you all the best and hope you get the full college experience in the coming four years.