Anyone who is thinking about pursuing a college education is making a great decision. College graduates have an unemployment rate that is roughly half of the national average. However, you have to be smart about choosing where you will go to school. If you choose a school that isn’t a good fit for you, you may not get the most from your college experience. What are some things to think about when choosing a school?
Do I Start At A Two Year College?
Many college freshman have no idea what they want to major in. Going to a community college may be a good option for those students. Community colleges are inexpensive and allow students to get core classes out of the way before making a decision on a major.
Some four year colleges will allow you to take classes at a community college for your first two years. Once you have completed your first two years, you are then admitted into the four year college to finish your studies.
Public Versus Private Schools
Money is certainly a factor when it comes to choosing a college. Publicly funded state schools offer a cost-effective way to attend school without spending a lot of money. Students who attend public colleges within their state will save even more money.
Private schools are generally more expensive. However, many private schools come with smaller campuses and smaller class sizes. This can be advantageous for students who would get lost easily on a big campus.
Students with learning disabilities may also prefer to have smaller classes where they can get more attention. Even if you don’t get attention from professors in class, a smaller campus means that there are more opportunities to seek out professors and classmates outside of class.
What Programs Does The School Offer
It is critical that you choose a school that offers a program that you want to study. Someone who wants to pursue a career in weather shouldn’t go to a school that doesn’t offer a meteorology degree.
Also consider the resources that your school puts into its academic programs. For example, a science major should look for a school that has a big research lab. Getting practical experience while in school gives you a leg up after graduation.
You may also want to think about what kind of graduate programs a school has. It may be easier to get an advanced degree at the same school where you did your undergraduate work if at all possible.
College isn’t all about classes and studying. You want to have a good balance between academic standards and student life experiences. Choose a school that has a fraternity or sorority that you can join.
This doesn’t mean that all you do is party all day. Academic fraternities and sororities often do charity work, hold fundraisers for the school and do other positive things in the community.
Getting involved in a club can help you explore an interest in a fun and relaxed way. An astronomy club may be a great way for those interested in space to meet like minded people. If you like sports, think about playing in an intramural league.
College Towns Versus Large Cities
The area surrounding the school may also have an impact on your time there. Many schools are located in what are referred to as college towns. Other than the campus, there may be nothing around for miles except for a Walmart or maybe a local grocery store.
On the other hand, some schools are located in large towns or cities. This means that there are more things to do outside of school and there are opportunities for jobs. If you don’t have work-study, it can be hard to find employment on campus.
Staying Home Or Going Away
Many students can’t wait to get away from their parent as soon as possible. However, others don’t mind staying home with their parents to save money on room and board. Feeling homesick while you are at school will usually result in a transfer to a school closer to home. Determining your comfort zone before choosing a school will save you a lot of time and money.
There is a lot that goes into choosing a school. You have to consider whether you want a private or public school, the quality of life outside of the classroom and you have to pick a location that you are comfortable with. It is a hard decision, but it is one that you can make with the help of parents and other trusted people in your life.