Factors to consider during college selection process

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You might have heard this over and over, choosing a right college for yourself is probably one of the most important decisions of your life. Your college/University plays a key aspect in shaping your career, future, your skills and placements for jobs. In short, it will have a major impact on your personal and professional life.
If you have started shopping for colleges, you might want to consider a broad spectrum of factors such as location, cost, size, quality of education, safety and so on, as well as other factors that are important to you personally. You might be bombarded with thousands of brochures, emails, texts and social media posts, however, don’t feel overwhelmed. Here is a list of things that will help cut the marketing hype and choose the best college for you.

  1. Academic Majors available

You probably have decided what you want to study at this point. Check to see if the colleges that you have shortlisted offer the specific major you are looking for. Each school/university has a different curriculum designed, so you need to consider what you want.
Even if you are not sure of what to choose, or what to study, that’s okay too. Make sure the college/university you are picking have wide variety of majors to choose from so that you can explore and select within your own college/university without transferring to another.

  1. Cost of Attendance

The cost of higher-education is a very important factor to choose from as it could have long-term implications. You have to understand how much the tuition and the fee is going to cost you and the differences for the students that are local and non-local.
Get an idea of the financial opportunities you have and the aids you can avail. Learn about scholarships, many times these bring the price tag down. Then consider the factors of the ability to pay and the debt that is going to accumulate for you. Keep in mind that cost is not always equal to quality. A lot of state colleges provide good quality education at the fraction of cost of the private colleges or universities.

  1. Location

You will have to make a note of the following list-

  • How’s the climate like?
  • Urban, suburbs or rural area?
  • Close to your location or far?
  • How close is the transport home?
  • Things to do off-campus?
  • If you are not a local- how much is the cost of stay and travel?

You also have to understand if you want to stay in a big-city or prefer somewhere quiet. If you can afford going out-of-state, or no. Location always have an impact on your overall college experience. If you don’t like the place of stay, the college life can become tough for you.

  1. Facilities and amenities on-campus

You will living your most of the life on-campus, so it is important to get a note of what is available. For eg.
Residence halls: What kind of halls? Double? Single? How much do they cost? Who is eligible? See if there are groups for like-minded people, communities.
Restaurants and food courts: The type of meals available, are there any restaurants or food places within the campus? Do they accommodate your type of diet and special diet (vegan, gluten-free, etc.)
Services: Check if there is an on-campus pharmacy, doctor available, counselling centers, banks, ATMs, grocery stores, and other needed services.
Entertainment: Check if what you like is available- Games court, Gym, fitness classes, race track or any other amenities that interest you.

  1. Career services – Placements, Internships

For most students, the purpose of going to college or a university is to land their dream job or the internship. Check to see if your college offers counselling sessions and training to crack interviews and successfully help you to launch a career.
How a college assists a student in career development is one of the most important factors in understanding what kind of education you are getting in the college. Some universities offer little support and creates an independent environment while a few offers tutoring groups and assistance in building your CV and Resume. Also, it is important to know the placement rates of the college or university- on campus and off campus.
Not just academics, but having a practical experience in the field of your interest also matters when you want to land your dream job. It is also one of the best ways to discover your passion and expanding your network. Check-out the internships, research and opportunities that your college or university provides for you.

  1. Student extracurriculars

Whatever your interests are, join a college that allows you to pursue them, be it academics or student activities. College is the perfect time to explore your passions and hobbies- Music, art, theatre, sports or student bodies. The right college will give you opportunities to explore everything you are interested in.

  1. Accreditation

Before you choose a college, make sure it is accredited. That means the college is licensed and the curriculum is reviewed to verify that it meets the basic standards of the higher education. Most colleges and universities provide this information on their website, which ensures that your degree is recognized by the employers and different organizations.

  1. Campus Environment- How does it feel like in the campus?

The spirit of the campus and the atmosphere will set the mood of education and gives you better or worst experiences. You should make sure you are comfortable on the campus, if you are not sure- visit the campus during the working hours. Ask questions like how many students are there on campus, or what things can be done on weekends, which gives you a better sense of the college functioning. If you can’t visit the campus, many colleges and universities offer a virtual tour.

  1. Safety

On-campus safety policy is one of the major factors you have to consider in choosing your college or university, especially if you are not a local. Not just the safety on-campus, but also in the surrounding areas. What kind of safety measures that the college have in place? Knowing the policies and procedures about the safety of the students is important to decide if the college is a good fit or not.

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