Posts Tagged ‘College Search’
In your quest to find your perfect college match, you’ve considered your major, the distance it is from home, the number of people from your high school going there, the food, its appearance, the cleanliness of the bathrooms, whether or not you’ll have to take a gym class, and a hundred other pieces of criteria! It’s a big decision, so there’s a lot to think about! Have you considered what college will do the best job at preparing you for your career? Check out these ways you can verify that the college you’re choosing has what it takes to actually get you a job!
The Reputation of the Program
Once you’re sure a college has your major, you’ll want to find out more about the program and its alumni. How popular is this major on campus? What percentage of its graduates are able to find a job in that major? What do the students currently enrolled in the program think? How long has the major existed on campus? Who’s teaching the classes? The more you can find out about your future program online and through the college, the better. If your program has been around for a while, is gaining popularity, and has accomplished individuals teaching new information, that’s a good sign!
The Relevancy of the Program
The job market is different than it was twenty, or even just ten years ago, and with technology constantly changing, you’ll want a program that’s adjusting their coursework so they’re ahead of the game! As an education major, you don’t want to learn the art of overhead transparencies. You want to learn how to use multi-media in the classroom, and how to look for signs of bullying. As a creative writer, you don’t want a heavy emphasis on the classics. You want to learn how to produce and market work in today’s writer’s market! Make sure the school you choose has a program that knows how to adequately prepare students for today. A quick look at the required courses and syllabi are often enough to get a few clues!
The Opportunities Given to You
When looking at a perspective program, look for what the college has to offer that other colleges don’t. What opportunities does this program give you that will better prepare you for a job than other programs? Will you get the chance to create a documentary your sophomore year as a film major? Will you be asked to observe how a classroom is taught your freshman year as an education major? Is there a literary magazine writing majors can help produce? Is there a famous professor with brilliant insights in charge of your program? If you can’t see why getting your program at one college would be better than getting it at another college, then you probably need to keep looking.
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As you begin your college search, you’ll find that there are thousands of colleges, and they’re all remarkably different! You’ll likely find many that could be a good fit, but narrowing them down to the few you’ll actually apply to can be difficult.
Imagine that you’re interviewing your future school for the position of providing you with the best education and college experience possible. The following is a list of questions to “ask” your future school.
Is this a two or four year institution?
Is this a large school or a small school?
What is the average number of people per class at this school?
Is this college in a suburban, urban, or rural environment?
What does the surrounding community have to offer?
What is there to do for fun?
Is this a public or private school?
Is this a same-sex or co-ed school?
Does this school have a religious affiliation?
How much does this school cost?
Does this institution offer scholarships and other financial aid programs?
How far is this school from home?
Is this school in-state or out of state?
What majors does this college offer?
What makes pursuing my major at this school different than another school?
Is this school able to give me a good education?
What benefits does this school have to offer?
What are the meal plans and food like?
Does this school offer extra-curricular activities I’m interested in?
Does this school offer a particular sport I want to play?
Does this school have a sorority, fraternity, or national honor society I want to be a part of?
What are the acceptance rates for this school?
Do I meet the acceptance criteria for this school?
Does this college offer study abroad programs?
How do students get around at this school?
Am I allowed to have a car at school?
What is the transfer rate for this school?
What is the drop out rate for this school?
What percentage of students who attend this college graduate in four years?
What are the students like at this college?
How diverse is this college?
Does this school have enough computer labs, a big library, a pool or a gym?
How many of my high school classmates plan on attending this college?
Will I live on or off campus?
How safe is the college and surrounding community?
What is living on campus like at this college?
How many people share a dorm room at this school?
How many people share a bathroom in the dorms?
Are the residence halls co-ed?
What is this school known for?
Do I like how the school looks?
Is this school up to date on their technology and equipment?
What have the professors in my field of study accomplished?
Could I feel at home here?
You’ve returned from your first college fair. If you took advantage of the dozens of tables, collecting information and asking questions, you likely have a pile of handouts, brochures, pamphlets, notes, post-cards, flyers, magnets, key chains, coasters, business cards, and other bits of information and marketing gadgets. You may be feeling overwhelmed with everything you were given. You may have no idea where to begin. The following is a list of ways you can best use that pile to push you further into making that decision on where to apply for college.
One way you can begin digging through all of the information you’ve picked up is to categorize everything. You can separate them by places you’re interested in and places you probably won’t be interested in, or by places you know a lot about and places you know little about. By splitting up the information into categorizes, you can have a better grasp on what it is you’ve actually picked up, and where you are in your college search.
Look at the Pictures
The information you receive will likely have pictures of the campus on it. Take time to actually look at these pictures. While a picture of the campus can’t make up for a real visitation, you can still tell a lot from the picture. Does this look like a place you could call home, or does it look scary? Do you find the campus attractive? Can you see yourself there?
Read the Majors List
You were likely given for many of the colleges a list of majors you could pursue at that college. Look at what the different colleges offer. What kind of school is this? You can often tell just by looking at the majors a little about that school’s culture. A technical school will probably have a higher value on sciences as opposed to a liberal arts school.
Re-Read Your Notes
If you took notes during the college fair, re-read them, while looking at the materials associated with the colleges you wrote about. This will allow you to get a more conceptualized idea of the different institutions.
Weed Some Out
There are some colleges you’ll know from the very start that you’re uninterested. While you may want to look over the material for these schools, just to be sure you haven’t missed something really great, you can start creating a pile of places you don’t want to attend based on whatever reason. Be sure to take note as to why you’re uninterested in these schools, as this is part of the process of narrowing down your perfect college match.
Hit the Web
Whatever you’ve received at the college fair, there’s more of it online. By going to the web sites of the schools you’re interested in, you can answer your own questions, get more information, and possibly continue to narrow down your search.
If you want to set up a college visit, talk to an advisor, shadow a student, or just get more information, there’s likely a business card for someone who can help you do that. Don’t be afraid to send them a quick email or give them a call. That’s their job!
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