Every year in the United States more than 19 million students start their college degrees. This is an opportunity to expand your knowledge of subjects you love, meet new people, and prepare for your future career. So it’s understandable that people see starting college as a pivotal moment in their lives.
However, this can make picking a college feel quite overwhelming. With more than 5,300 colleges and universities around the country, it can be difficult to know where to start.
If you are trying to choose which college is right for you, you’re in the right place! Read on to find out our tops tips for how to choose a college that will suit you.
Consider Different Types of Colleges
There are a lot of different higher education institutions around America and it is important to consider all of your college options. These can offer different approaches to teaching and different lengths of courses.
For example, some students prefer to attend four-year courses while others are more interested in vocational and trade learning. This all depends on the type of learning that suits you best and the qualifications you want.
If going away to study doesn’t suit you or you want a more flexible course, then it might be worth checking out online colleges as well. You can find out more about getting a degree online by reading these tips now.
Keep Your Subjects in Mind
The best college for you doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best college overall. In fact, some colleges can have a great reputation for certain subjects but seriously drop the ball for others.
Because of this, it is really important to think about which subjects you are interested in studying. Once you know this, look closely at those departments in a college.
Look at the syllabus, the resources given to a department, and the staff they employ. After all, this is where you will spend a lot of your time and you want to choose a course that is well-organized. If a college is a hub of academic research in your preferred subject then it’s definitely worth checking out.
Think About Location
Location is an important consideration for anyone choosing a college and this will depend a lot on your personal preferences.
If you are keen to travel, for example, then this is an opportunity to visit a city you’ve never been to before. Or if you would rather stay close to home then this will help you to eliminate some colleges from your course.
It is a good idea to keep a college’s location balanced with its other assets. Once you have found a location that you like, take a close look at the colleges in this area. If you can’t find anywhere that you would really be pleased to attend you might want to widen your search area a little or consider your other backup locations.
Look at the Campus and Culture
Your course is not going to be the only thing you spend your time and energy on at college. In fact, a lot of time will be taken up with extra-curricular activities and socializing. So make sure you check this out too.
If you can find some good clubs that you would like to join this is a good sign. Or you might want to take the opportunity to try a new hobby.
It’s also worth looking at the culture that a campus promotes and keeping an eye out for any scandals in recent years. You want to choose a college that will support all of its students and handle issues quickly and effectively.
Listen to the Student Body
Speaking of supporting students, no one can tell you more about a college than the students themselves. So it is worth taking a look at student forums and asking to hear people’s personal experiences of a college.
This can tell you about everything from accommodation to the quality of teaching to emotional and mental health support. Of course, not every student will have a brilliant time during college. But listening to the experience of students you will quickly pick up on reoccurring issues that are worth noting.
Graduation and Retention Rates
The main purpose of going to college is to further your academic career and so you want to know that the majority of students pass their exams. Looking at the percentage of graduating students and their grades is another great way to learn about the quality of teaching at a college.
However, it is also a good idea to look at a college or university’s retention rates. This refers to how many people start a course and how many actually complete it.
If a course has a high dropout rate it is worth having a closer look as to why this might be. Whether it is caused by poor teaching or lack of student satisfaction, a high dropout rate rarely reflects well on the college.
Keep These Tips for How to Choose a College In Mind
As you can see, when it comes to choosing your college there are a lot of things to consider. Keep these in mind as they will help you to build a picture of the full experience a college offers.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to how to choose a college is to prioritize what feels right for you. It can be tempting to be swayed by popular colleges and other people’s opinions. But if you feel really drawn to a place it is probably with good reason, so pay attention to that instinct.
Looking for more great tips and advice on your educational choices? Then keep scrolling now!