Careers & Education

How do I choose a college?

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Trying to choose a college? We have ideas to help you.
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If you're having trouble choosing a college, we have some ideas that might help

It seems like just yesterday when you were wondering what high school would be like.  Now you're wondering "how do I choose a college?" 

It's a big question,  There are thousands of colleges and university, and an endless number of majors you can choose. Where do you start?

Never fear! We have some ideas to help you reduce the endless list of choices to a few manageable options. 

What's in a major?

One of the biggest factors in choosing a college is your major. For example, if you have your heart set on med school, a college that lacks solid biology, chemistry and physics departments is probably not your best choice. 

Use online college search engines to find the schools that offer the majors you want. If you're uncertain about your major (and many incoming Freshmen are), choose colleges that offer a variety majors in areas you might want to study,  That way, you'll have several options without needing to transfer to a new college. 

Location counts

Just like in real estate, the location of your college matters. Sure, you can study anywhere and complete a degree, but if you feel comfortable with the climate and surroundings it will be a better experience. 

Think about the places you like best.  Are they urban or rural?  Tropical or with four distinct seasons?  Large and bustling, or small and friendly?

If you haven't had the chance to travel much, you can think about the places you've always wanted to visit and see what they have in common.  Knowing what you like (or dream about) can help you find the right location for your college choices. 

Who gets in?

Before you send off those expensive applications to that gorgeous college on the beach or the amazing art college in the mountains, spend some time checking admission standards. One of the most important factors in the how do I choose a college process is identifying the schools where you have the best chance of success. 

Look at the minimum admission standards for GPA and test scores, as well as the average scores of incoming Freshmen, then compare them to your own results.  While other factors such as extracurricular activities, volunteering and special projects can sway the admissions committee in borderline cases, applying to schools that match your own academic performance is probably a better choice. 

At home or on your own?

Some college students are more comfortable living at home while they study.  Others like the idea of moving away for their first experience of independence.  Both are good choices, so consider your preferences when choosing a college or university, 

How much does it cost?

I left this factor for last, because of all the factors affecting which college you choose, this is the only one that can be minimized with good planning and hard work.  

There are always grants, scholarships and loans available to qualified students.  Make sure you explore the school's own programs, as well as national, community, workplace and other scholarship opportunities. 

Putting it all together

If you use these five factors to narrow the field, you'll find that instead of trying to choose a college from the thousands of options, you'll only need to look at a dozen or so. That means you'll be able to find the perfect college for you. 

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