What College is Right for You?
Choosing the right college for you is one of the biggest decisions of your life.
People are different. We all have different goals, different dreams, and different skill levels. We excel in some areas while we struggle in others. We are highly interested in some topics and others bore us to sleep. So when it comes to choosing which college is best for you, your answer should be unique. Just because your brother or sister or parents attended one college doesn’t necessarily mean that same college is the right choice for you.
5 Tips to Help You Choose the Right College
- Ask yourself these questions. “Why am I going to college? What are my goals? What am I good at? What am I interested in? What do I truly want out of life?” The answers to those questions can shift your college decision tremendously. Are you a highly motivated individual that can tackle college on your own, or are you someone who will rely heavily on family support? Size up who you are and what your needs are. Explore your strengths and weaknesses and assess your needs.
- The size of the college or university you choose is very important. Maybe you want to be a part of something huge? Or maybe you don’t want to get lost in the crowd. Small colleges give you a better chance to get to know all of the key people in your field and do some inner exploration, whereas large colleges and universities may offer more things and have different opportunities based on shear numbers. It’s typically easier to get one on one time with your professors at small colleges.
- Depending on your unique situation, the distance your college is from your loved ones can make a difference. If you’re just starting college you’ve likely never been out on your own before. Believe it or not, it’s very easy to become homesick and depressed when your culture changes drastically and you are no longer around people you know and are comfortable with. If you are somebody who wants to spend the holidays with family consider colleges a bit closer to home.
- Choose a college or university that makes financial sense. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go to a big name brand university, possibly out of state. The tuition is enormously higher for out of state students. Consider the financial benefits of choosing an in-state school. You should also consider attending a community college the first couple years to knock out all of your common classes. There’s no reason to put an unnecessary financial burden on your back if you don’t have to.
- Do your research before selecting a college or university. Look for schools that specialize in the industries you are interested in. Start by making a large list of colleges you are considering attending. Then continue to narrow down your list. Visit the websites of each college, read as much info as you can, look at all the pictures and videos available. Visit each campus. Check out not only what each college has to offer but what the area has to offer as well. Think about where you’ll be eating, hanging out, shopping, etc. and factor all of those things in to your decision.
College doesn’t have to be strictly a chore; it can be the most exciting and fun time of your life. But it all depends on which college you choose. Other than your major, choosing the right college is one of the most important decisions you will make in your adult life. Choose wisely, go forth, and prosper.
Here are 10 Tips to Help You Get Into College
- Take high school seriously from start to finish. Schedule classes that will challenge you but that are still easy enough for you to get an A or a B.
- Make sure you have a good cumulative Grade Point Average over the life of your high school career. If you goofed off your freshman year and had a C average then you need to dig deep and make up for it the rest of the time you have left. Some colleges screen applicants based on a four year GPA in high school.
- Get good references. Only ask for recommendation letters from teachers and school officials that you are certain will give you a good recommendation. A single negative recommendation can blow it for you, so choose wisely.
- Volunteer. Volunteering looks great on a college application, especially if you are volunteering with academic related activities such as tutoring.
- Run for leadership positions within your school. Any titles are good ones, but student council is great and class president will earn you big bonus points.
- Narrow down your future career field. Focus on what you like and what you are good at. Think about jobs you would like to do for the next 25 years. Anticipate how those job fields may evolve in the future. Don’t pick something you will get burnt out with a few years down the road. Once you’ve made your choice start focusing on that field. Take classes related to that career field and volunteer within the school and community in that field as well.
- Make a great resume. It’s important to have good grammar throughout. Be professional and don’t leave anything to chance. Impress them with every opportunity.
- Prepare and study hard for the ACT and SAT exams. Take the SAT multiple times if you need to, to get the highest score possible. Take prep classes to prepare for the SAT. It will be time well spent.
- When writing essays put a lot of thought into them. Have strong opening paragraphs and strong closing paragraphs. Let the admissions officer know you mean business. As we mentioned above, make sure your grammar is good and there are no typos. Proofread, edit, and double check everything.
- Prepare yourself for your face to face interview with the college admissions officer. Anticipate what they may ask you and practice answering their questions. Remain calm and relaxed. Be sharp, but poised. Dress nice and be well groomed. Make the best impression you can.
Take these ten tips seriously and you will be well on your way to getting accepted to the college of your choice.
We’ve already been telling you which colleges are the easiest to get into, so now let’s take a close look at what colleges actually look for in applicants. Here are the main things most colleges will consider when you apply for enrollment:
- Your test scores – most colleges take a good hard look at your standardized test scores such as the ACT and SAT tests. If you are hoping for a scholarship your scores need to be on the high end. If you are just hoping to get into the college then your scores need to be in the middle of the pack or higher. If your scores are toward the bottom you’d better hope the admissions office likes other things on your application and those other factors carry enough weight to get you in.
- Your grades – much like your standardized test scores, college admissions decision makers will look at your grade point average as a good indicator of your future success at the college level.
- Your high school classes – the admissions office will look at which classes you took in high school. A lot can be determined based off of your class schedule strength. For example, were you taking easy classes or AP (advanced placement classes) and how well did you perform in those classes? It definitely matters, and it matters a lot more today than it did 10 or 15 years ago.
- Community Involvement – are you a leader? Did you do any volunteering? Showing community service is a great way to show character and attitude and give you an edge on a college application.
- Extracurricular Activities – do you play sports, are you in any clubs? Showing you are well rounded will also give you an edge with the decision makers at the admissions office.
- References – If you can get letters of recommendation from your teachers, councelors, principal, community leaders, or professionals in your field of study that can also go a long way in providing you with an edge.
- Your application itself – You should present yourself well, by making sure you answer everything asked and you have good grammar and good punctuation. Showcase a good vocabulary. If you have to come in for an interview dress nice, be well groomed, and always smile. Those things can go a long way.
I hope these tips help. Being educated on what colleges are looking for will give you an edge on getting accepted.