Posts Tagged ‘College Decisions’
It’s April, and you have gotten into multiple colleges. All of a sudden what you dreamed of all along has become this overwhelming reality! First off, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. Congratulations! You are in a great position!
While it may seem like a huge life decision you are not ready to make, there are easy ways to narrow down what schools you should be considering. It is always important, while you are deciding which school to go to, to remember that you are in a great position. While finding the right fit is important, a lot of the college experience is what you make of it and you will probably have a great and fulfilling time no matter where you go. Today I will be focusing on maximizing your experience during your campus visit.
Most schools will have a campus day for prospective students who have been accepted. If you have not been to visit the school yet, it is especially important to try to attend this. You will get a tour and the tables will have turned. As opposed to you trying to impress the schools, they will be doing everything they can to get you to attend. Even if you have already been to the school, this is still good to attend because sometimes your impressions will have changed and you will learn much more about the school.
When you are on campus, make an attempt to try to connect with someone you might know at the school. Whether it is a former high school friend who is older than you or a family friend or an alumni connection through your guidance counselor; it is crucial to get honest assessments from as many current students at the school as possible. Everyone is different, so it is important to take into account that while a school might seem great for someone, their experience might not necessarily be yours. Ask them what they love or dislike about their school. Most students around campus will tend to be positive about their school no matter what, so it is a good idea to try to get a really honest take on the school.
Better yet, even if your parents are staying in a hotel, try to stay with a student at the school in the dorms. This is the best way to see the school experience, meet a lot of current students, and see what life is really like at the school. Shadow this student to a day of classes (this might be difficult for some smaller classes but for general lectures you should be fine). At some schools, certain dorms have a specific kind of student that it caters to so remember to ask inquisitive questions to find out what the different types of dorms are to see what would be the right fit for you should you attend.
If you are applying to a specific school within a university or a smaller niche program, try to meet with professors within that program. Contact the department head in advance of your campus visit and ask to shadow a student for a day or sit in on classes. Many programs will be glad to facilitate you. A lot of professors are way more accessible than you think and you can find their emails through easy website searches.
Remember, prepare for your campus visit as much as possible to maximize how much you learn about the school!!
When you're making college decisions, it never hurts to talk to students who have gone through the process before. Therefore, Cappex has spoken to real college graduates to tell you what they wish they knew when they were freshmen.
Timothy Griffin, Marist College – Put a greater focus on fewer activities
"I think the thing I most wish I realized as a freshman is that there's a limit as to how many activities you can reasonably do.
Between classes, parties, activities, internships and homework, there's only so much time. I joined a TON of clubs my freshman year, and tried to stick with them instead of focusing on one or two.
Because of that, I didn't really have enough time to actually be a part of them. When you're putting together a resume, it's great to show that you worked at the school newspaper, radio station and television station and five other clubs. But unless you can actually get something substantial to show from them, it's better to get some sleep once in a while."
Gordie Smith, Hamilton College – Focus on the skills you want to gain
"College is definitely an exploratory time, especially at a liberal arts school, but I wish as a freshman I had more of a clear and specific idea WHY I was going to college and what I wanted to get out of it in terms of skills and knowledge – that way I could have better focused the classes I took to match up with it."
Cara Spilsbury, University of New Hampshire – It's all about who you know
"I wish someone had told me that, in order to get my dream career, my grades, my schoolwork, everything was secondary to making connections. The saying 'it's all who you know' couldn't be more true. While I was busting my butt in class trying to get straight A's, I should have been out networking like crazy with people in my industry. I have been on about 100 job interviews, and not one person has asked me about my grades or my GPA. I have, however, been connected to most of those interviews through people I have met in both professional and social settings throughout my career."
Rebecca Bakken, Western Michigan University – Make decisions for yourself, not for others
"Looking back, I wish I had known myself better when entering college. As an adult, I've grown to see the importance of introspection and how it can help guide the decisions I make. When I was 18, however, I think I made many of my decisions based on other people – my friends and parents, namely. As a result, I switched schools and majors and ended up taking slightly longer to graduate. While it worked out for me in the end, I think it's important for high school seniors to take some time and think about what it is that they ultimately want out of life before entering their critical college years. Also, remember to have fun!"
Many of the top public universities in the country could be affected by reductions in education spending, reports The Washington Post.
Record reductions in federal spending as a result of the economic crisis could threaten public universities. For example, state funding to the University of Virginia has been reduced from 26 to 7 percent in the past 20 years. The University of Michigan has reported similar cuts, with reductions from 48 percent of its operating budget to 17 percent during the same period.
At the University of California, Berkeley, cuts in federal funding have meant increases in tuition for students, larger class sizes and restrictions in some classroom equipment that could affect some students' college decisions. This year, the university received more funding from students than it did in state support.
"The issue that’s being addressed at Berkeley, fundamentally, is the future of the high-quality public university in America," Robert Reich, the former labor secretary and a public policy professor at Berkeley, told the newspaper.
Several of the Republican presidential candidates have made education reform and state funding a priority during their campaigns. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney recently told students that a vote for him meant job security after they graduate, according to ABC News.
Officials at the University of Texas System recently announced the launch of a "productivity dashboard" to provide students, staff and regulatory bodies with a more transparent way of assessing how the schools are performing, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The new online system is the result of a unanimous decision by the schools' Board of Regents to provide more detailed information on how the university system is performing. Raising the graduation rate of the schools is another primary objective of the online tools. The productivity dashboard is part of a wider plan to increase transparency about things like admissions factors, graduation rates and learning outcomes.
Public interest and education advocacy groups welcomed the news. The Texas Public Policy Foundation released a statement calling the plan "an important and welcome recognition that Texas students and parents can no longer afford business as usual from our state's higher education institutions."
Other colleges in Texas have also taken steps towards improving graduation rates. According to the Bryan-College Station Eagle, Texas A&M University recently entered into a partnership with software developer Academic Analytics to implement software that tracks the productivity of faculty members in order to improve the quality of education provided by the college.
If you're evaluating your college decisions, tools like these might help you see how well a school is performing. Make sure to do plenty of research into the graduation rates of an institution before filling out a college application.
Darrell Steinberg, president of the California Senate, plans to introduce legislation that will create a free library of 50 of the most common college textbooks in an electronic format, reports the Huffington Post.
Despite proposed cuts to the state education budget, Steinberg is seeking around $25 million for initial startup costs. Under the new plan, students could save as much as $1,000 on the estimated average of $1,300 that each student spends on course materials. The savings are intended to offset recent increases in tuition at many Californian colleges and universities.
Steinberg's proposals have been met with enthusiasm from members of the 20 Million Minds Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to lowering costs of course materials by making digital textbooks more widely available. Dean Florez, a member of the group and former state senator, told the news outlet that the move could spark similar initiatives across the country.
The popularity of e-books among students is increasing. According to Reuters, a survey by Kelton Research found that 62 percent of undergraduates said they would study more often if they had access to digital textbooks, and 71 percent of students said they supported plans to migrate course materials to electronic formats or web-based applications.
If you're weighing your college decisions, you might want to consider the cost of materials when using a college search engine.
It's not just students who are paying more for their textbooks. According to a new study published by the National Center for Education Statistics, academic libraries are spending more on course materials and books than they were before the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, reports Inside Higher Ed.
The report surveyed 3,700 libraries in academic institutions across the U.S., accounting for almost 85 percent of all libraries in higher education. The results indicate that colleges spent $6.83 billion last year, compared to $5.75 billion in 2004. The increase is largely due to increases in the cost of academic journals.
However, the most notable change in college library's spending relates to e-books and digital course materials. In 2004, academic libraries had around 32 million e-textbooks in their collections, compared to more than 158 million last year. College library spending on electronic materials also increased significantly, rising from $65 million in 2004 to $152 million in 2010.
If you're thinking of attending college, you might want to add a tablet computer to your 'what to bring to college' checklist. For many students, accessing digital textbooks through tablet computers is becoming a more popular choice than using print materials. Before making any solid college decisions, you should evaluate how much the course materials for your major will cost, and see if using e-books would be more affordable for you.
The issues of graduation rates and student retention are hot topics in the higher education world. Many colleges, in light of proposed reductions in federal education funding, are attempting to improve student retention rates, or the percentage of students who actually graduate from the school. According to a new study published by Social Psychology of Education shows that friendship and individuals' social involvement play an important role in whether or not students graduate, reports Inside Higher Ed.
Although factors such as a student's financial background, ethnic group and academic achievement are considered primary indicators of an individual's likelihood to graduate, the study suggests that friendships also play an important role in student retention.
The results of the study indicate that students whose friends dropped out were five times more likely to do so themselves, whereas students with acquaintances who remained in college were more than twice as likely to continue their studies as a result.
Some college fraternities realize the importance of social bonds and how they affect student retention. According to its official website, Alpha Phi Omega operates a Friendship and Retention grant program to enable chapters to develop social programs to engage students and boost retention rates.
Since so many academic professionals believe in the importance of friendship in students' college decisions, be sure to take this information to heart during your freshman year. You will meet some of your best friends in college, so open up your dorm room door and don't be afraid to meet new people.
In an attempt to capitalize on students' desire to reduce the cost of their education and enter the workforce sooner, many colleges are now offering three-year degree programs, according to The Washington Post. However, interest in the new programs has been lukewarm.
Lake Forest College in Illinois, the University of North Carolina and Ball State University in Indiana are all offering students the chance to enroll in three-year accelerated degree programs. Although interest in the new programs has been moderate, some experts say that the new program will enable students to achieve their academic goals sooner than through traditional four-year route, as well as reduce the cost of earning a degree.
"You spend less, you get through more quickly and you get into the workforce," Jim Petro, Ohio Board of Regents chancellor, told Cincinnati.com. "The longer it takes to get a degree, the less likely students are to finish. Time is the enemy."
Students who are evaluating their college decisions may want to consider an accelerated program. The news source reports that students who earn some college credit ahead of time through Advanced Placement classes will be more likely to succeed.
Caroline Miller, associate provost for enrollment management at the University of Cincinnati, said that students who think and act proactively about using their summers productively could benefit from the accelerated programs.
There’s no better way to get to know a college than seeing the campus in person. It can give you insight into what student life is like, how classes are run, and where you might fit in.
And now, planning your college road trip is tremendously easy (and free) with the Cappex Campus Visit Planner™.
Instead of getting lost on the Web visiting multiple college websites and then spending time stringing all the pieces together, the Visit Planner lets you take care of all your college visits plans in one place.
Simplify the process with our college trip planning tool:
- Choose the campuses to visit and find the best route.
- See recommendations of other campuses nearby.
- Let colleges know you’re interested in visiting their campus.
- Get turn-by-turn driving directions.
You can see what the Campus Visit Planner is all about, or even start planning your college road trip, by visiting www.Cappex.com/campusvisits.
And check out the Visit Planner video!
[youtube width="420" height="260"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80qxXz_RdIY&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]
Register on Cappex
Create a free profile and...
- Discover more than $11 billion in scholarships and merit aid
- Get your college matches and see which colleges want you
- Instantly see your admissions chances for getting into the college of your dreams