Posts Tagged ‘applying to college’

Finding Your Perfect College Match: Location

Categories: Admissions Advice

Finding You Perfect College Match: Location

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When searching for your ideal college, it is important to take location into account. There are many excellent universities in the United States, and regardless of the location preferences you have, you’re sure to find the school that is a perfect match.

Proximity to Home

Closeness to home is more important to some students than others. In your search for the perfect school, you need to figure out whether or not being close to home is something that you are looking for. You may have the luxury of living close to a great state school or private university where you potentially want to study, and in this case, it may not be a decision that you need to make. The first stop to finding your perfect school is figuring out if you want to have any geographical restrictions.

City or Town?

Some students are very adamant about going to school in a major big city, whereas others are adamant about going to school in a smaller, spirited college town. These two options give students a completely different college experience, and in looking for your perfect match, is something that you need to consider very seriously.

Recreation & Weather

The U.S. is very geographically diverse, and I’m sure off the top of your head you can think of a few sunny parts of the country you wouldn’t mind spending the next four years, but dig a little deeper. Are you a big fan of the outdoors? Do you love the mountains? Is your dream school somewhere you can spend free time hiking historic trails, exploring a marine coastline, or hitting the ski slopes?

Some areas of the United States are known for having more extreme weather patterns, and in your search for the perfect school, you need to decide whether these conditions are something you are comfortable living in. Schools in the northern half of the country are subject to harsh winters – with cold temperatures, chilly wind, and snow, sometimes for up to six months of the year – whereas others are in areas known for humidity, possibility of tornadoes or hurricanes, or extremely dry conditions. When looking for your perfect college match, think about the weather in the country and decide if there any regions that are off limits. You should not apply to any schools in these regions, even as a back up.

Proximity to Other Schools

Perhaps the least important of your deciding factors, the closeness of potential schools to other universities is something that some students look for in their perfect college match. One way to make great memories is to visit friends or siblings at other universities on the weekends, for intense rivalry sports games, notoriously fun planned weekends, or just because you feel like doing something different. Some universities are in highly dense college areas with many other schools within a few hours driving distance, whereas other schools are in more remote areas and require flying in order to travel anywhere. When searching for your perfect school, look into other universities in the area, and decide whether or not that has any influence on your college decision.

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Should You Go To Community College First?

Categories: Admissions Advice

When you start applying to college, you may be wondering whether starting at a community college and transferring to a four-year university can be a good option for you. Community colleges can provide a great educational foundation for students who don’t want to enroll in a four-year school. There are many reasons why you should consider attending a community college first, and in considering these factors, you will be able to discern whether or not it is right for you.

Your Grades Are Too Low

If your grades are too low to be accepted to a four-year university, starting at a community college can help you get the bumps you need to transfer in. The university will take these grades into account and see your progress, which lets you apply and hopefully be accepted after your first year or two. If you decide this is the route you want to take, meeting with an advisor throughout your community college experience is crucial. The transfer requirements for universities are constantly changing, and your advisor can help you stay in the know about what courses you need to take to be considered. Planning early can be your key to success.

Location, Location, Location

If you know where you want to go to a university but don’t get accepted on your first try, attending a community college nearby can be a great way to open doors. In addition to being surrounded by the culture, sports, and students you desire, you will be able to foster a closer relationship with the university by enrolling in an affiliated institution. Many schools, like the Florida public universities, have programs with community colleges in the state that allow students to transfer in more easily after they complete two years and the required classes.

Financial Restraints

Lets face it: college is very expensive. You may find yourself in a position where you know you don’t have the money to pay for all four years at a university and wondering if there are cheaper ways to achieve a higher education. Community college is indeed cheaper than four-year universities, but they still can cost as much as $10,000 a year. If you are looking into this option to save money, be aware that it is more difficult to get financial aid at a community college than a four-year university—community colleges have limited resources because they are state funded. In this case, community college is still a good option for you if the careers you are interested in only require an associates degree. Many high-demand occupations hire candidates who have gone only to community college, and exploring your potential career choices before going to college can help you understand whether or not an associates degree will be sufficient.

 

Still looking for money to pay for school? Cappex can help you find scholarships!

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Avoid Big Mistakes with Your College List

Categories: Admissions Advice

Juniors, as you begin to assemble the list of schools you will ultimately apply to, you must must must must think ahead about outcomes and possibilities.

Please refrain from being that student who assumes they’re a shoe-in at a certain school and applies ONLY to that one. What happens if the college admissions folks don’t think you’re a good fit? Than you’re out of luck and delayed in your college education.

There are hundreds of colleges to choose between, so you can be picky in regards to what fits your needs, academically and financially. Here are our tips to avoiding big mistakes in your college list for you:

Balance your list in terms of cost
You may fall head over heals for a school that costs way too money. But who knows? Maybe you’ll get scholarships or come across an abandoned pirate’s ship with a trove of gold and jewels. So, if you love a school, apply. Just in case though, find schools that you love almost as much that are more affordable and/or more likely to offer scholarships. That way, if you don’t get enough money to go to your dream school, you won’t feel shafted going to the one you can afford.

Worse case scenario: The only schools you get into are really expensive ones you love but can’t afford, and a school that you’re not crazy about that you can afford.

Choose a couple of actual safety schools
To answer your question before you ask it, no, an Ivy League college is not a safety school, even if you’re 150% certain you’re getting into Harvard.  There’s probably some actual stat like this: for every 1 student that gets into Harvard, 16 students are turned away. And if 35,000 students apply? Well, then…you do the math. So apply to schools where  you’re clearly in the upper percentile. Let me reiterate one more time, even if your parents recently gave millions of dollars to build a new library at the college you want to go to, apply to a couple schools that your guidance counselor said your chances were higher at. And you can always look at what your chances are on Cappex!

Worse case scenario: Your hopes are a little too high and you don’t get into any of the highly competitive schools you applied to.  

Give yourself options
Just like everything else in your life, your top college choices might switch around from one point in time to another. So even if you are completely obsessed with College A, you might have an experience that makes you like totally obsessed with College B. So do your research. Avoid pigeonholing yourself into only once choice.

Worse case scenario: Blinded by love for College A, you decide not to apply to any other colleges. You’re completely fine with your choice until you visit your best friend’s older sister at College B, which you didn’t apply to because you only had eyes for College A. Now, starting your freshman semester at College A, all you can think about is B. It’s a torrid affair.

The moral of the story? Watch out for your future self. Give yourself choices and opportunities. Oh, and good luck!

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