College is an exciting time in life. It’s a transition that can leave many high school graduates feeling both nervous and joyful. While you’re preparing to leave behind an existence that’s been comfortable for the past 18 years, you’re simultaneously embarking on a new adventure. College is the place you define your interests, and make the first steps towards creating a career path. That being said, it’s important that a college is decided upon with a lot of time for reflection and evaluation. Colleges, just like careers, are suited towards a variety of specific personalities and learning styles. Making sure you are going to be attending a college that suits your needs and goals is imperative when starting out on your academic endeavor. Here are six things to consider before you decide on a college.
1. Learning location
It’s important to decide where you want to attend college before you start looking into specific schools. If you are someone who experiences a high level of anxiety in new situations, it may be smart to start at a college closer to home and work your ways towards transferring out of state. For those who are looking to break free from their roots, an out-of-state college could be the fresh start you need. Picking a location that suits your comfort level and goals is an important first step.
2. Cost calculation
Where you want to attend college is also going to affect your bank account. Tuition is generally more expensive for out-of-state students than it is for those who have in-state residency. Make sure you evaluate a realistic academic budget before you apply to schools that may be out of financial reach. Understanding what loans you are willing to take out, and what you are able to spend out of pocket can help you narrow down choices and avoid disappointment.
3. Relevant programs
Make sure you have a clear idea of what type of programs you are looking for in a school, and choose to apply to institutions that fit the bill. Being accepted to a school that is convenient, but doesn’t offer the education you want could lead to career disappointment down the road.
4. Available resources
It’s important that no matter where you decide to go to school, the college has an extensive list of student resources in place. This could include everything from student activity groups to a convenient health center as well as counselors and advisors. A student develops both socially and academically in college, so it’s imperative that you understand how you can experience growth on campus and find help if you ever need it.
5. Enrollment numbers
Take some time to decide if you are looking to attend a large or small college. The number of enrolled students can play a big part in setting the atmosphere of an academic institution. If you’re fairly comfortable in a student role and easily self-motivated to complete your studies, a large institution could be the perfect fit. On the other hand, if you need a little extra guidance and prefer more one on one with professors, it would be wise to consider small schools as your top options.
6. Post-graduate follow up
The majority of students enroll at a college in order to receive a diploma and move on towards a great career. Make sure you know what the colleges you apply for provide as far as job placement, counseling, and career follow-up. A school that not only helps you land an internship, but encourages you towards job interviews and follows up afterwards is sure to be a place you’ll feel comfortable and confidant.