How To Choose The Right College For You

Ah college! What almost every high school student aspires to accomplish. How does one prepare for college? It’s such a different world that one needs to know everything he can so that the decision, once made, will not be something that he’ll regret later on.

You need to ask yourself these questions: What subjects do I excel in and did I enjoy them? It is best to evaluate your skill levels in school, even when you’re still a Junior, because you probably already know which classes you’re comfortable with. If you find that you have never really been interested in the sciences, then it’s most likely that you won’t be inclined to study them in college too.

You also have to take your personality into consideration. You might have gotten good grades in Math but you didn’t necessarily consider it an achievement, then your choice of college will not be dependent on whether or not they have a good Mathematics department.

Schools usually give career aptitude tests to help students decide on the possible courses that they can pursue. Just remember that you know yourself better and it’s a simple question between pursuing the arts and pursuing the sciences. Most people are a combination of both and there is a possibility that you might change your major once or twice while in college. Your choice of college will either help you move forward or restrain you from fulfilling your potential. That’s how important it is. So choose wisely.

Criteria for choosing
There are several criteria that you should think about when selecting the college that’s right for you. You need to evaluate each and every one based on your personal preference, which means that you’ll most likely be well-adjusted and better suited to such academic and social environments, and therefore, be able to do better and ultimately make the most of your college education.

1. Type of School – Aside from the two (2) general types of institutions – public, and private, in which public schools are usually funded primarily by the state and are governed by a group of publicly-elected officials and private schools are the opposite of public schools, with most of their funding coming from private sources and are run by private individuals or organizations, colleges are also categorized into research and teaching schools. The difference when choosing between the two lies in your plans after you finish college.

Research-oriented schools, as their name implies, focus more on the research-side of education. Professors in these schools are more intent on getting their papers published because this will further their career, and in the process, teaching almost becomes secondary. The presence of apprenticeship in these schools while you are an undergraduate will increase your chances in getting to better schools for your post-graduate studies. Teaching institutions, on the other hand, place more emphasis on the teaching side of education. More resources and instructional materials are devoted to the students and professors advance their career based on how well they teach.

2. Campus setting/environment – The campus setting is an important factor because it will have a bearing on how well you respond to certain campus conditions. Some people find that a rural feel to the college is more conducive to learning as opposed to an urban setting.

3. Size of student body – Colleges may range in size from small (less than 2,000) to very large (more than 10,000). You just have to be careful when considering the size because the number of undergraduates (as the size refers to) may not be indicative of the class size or the number of departments or faculties in the schools. It will just be a gauge for you to determine whether you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of students or whether you’ll feel more challenged to excel in such an environment.

3. Single sex or coed – Studying in college almost always requires living quarters, mostly dormitories within the campus. In this case, you have to know that college dorms are set-up with either single-sex or co-ed arrangements. Some house men in a different wing or in a different floor from the women, but it all depends on how the people themselves behave. If this is a special consideration for you, then it will be easy to short-list those colleges with only single-sex accommodations.

4. Diversity – In a country where a lot of cultures and races mix together, some consider it important to evaluate the racial mix in colleges. Usually, the minority ethnic races include Asians, Hispanics and African-Americans.

5. Religious affiliation – Most colleges impose no religious restrictions on its undergraduates and in fact provide houses of worship within the campuses. Even though a religion or religious organization may be the founder of such college, it sometimes doesn’t follow that its teachings or practices are forced onto its students. However, if you feel that you will be more comfortable in an environment where you at least share your religious beliefs with a majority of the residents, then by all means select a college with the same religious affiliations as yourself.

6. Financial aid – A perceived stumbling block in applying for college is the tuition. What you need to know is most colleges offer a variety of scholarship packages to majority of its students provided they at least show a need for it. A lot of the time, the full tuition is alleviated by the scholarship at least partially and even that in itself is already a big help.

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