Introduction: Finding Your College
HS seniors college search guide
Have you found the college or program that you want to attend? Do a little search among colleges and programs from around the country. Search by State and community.
Understand Types of Schools
generally smaller in size. They offer 4-year degree programs (BA and BS) and many 2-year Associate degrees.
larger institutions with specialized degrees in business, engineering, pre-med, etc. They offer 2-year, 4-year, and many graduate and professional degrees.
- Community / Junior Colleges:
a small college offering 2-year Associate degrees. Many students attend local community colleges with the intent to transfer to a larger institution to further their education.
- Online Programs:
offered by small and large accredited universities. Programs are offered online with potentially some campus visit during the online course.
- Vocational / Career Schools:
specialized schools of training for specialized trade jobs such as mechanics, computer technicians, medical assistants, etc.
Programs may vary requiring only a few weeks to complete while others may require a year or more. Upon completion, graduates will receive a license, certificate or an Associate Degree.
When You Should Complete These Tasks
How to Search College
HS seniors college search guide
(all links open new win)
Assemble a list of colleges or trade schools you'd like to attend. Meet with your school's guidance counselor to discuss your plans and to arrange important campus visits.
Your search categories include:
- search list of 2-3 schools that you could definitely get in
- search list of 4-5 schools that you could probably get in
- search list of 7-8 schools that you would like to get in
You should budget on how much you can afford for application submission. If the application submission costs for 16 or more schools is too much. Narrow your search to 3-3-3.
|search 4-year colleges-universities|
|search community colleges|
|search online schools and programs|
|search vocational and career schools|
What Should You Look For in a School?
- Private or Public:
private schools are generally more expensive - but many of them are ranked as some of the best schools for graduate hires. Public schools are generally less expensive and in some cases, much larger.
universities like the Big-10 can have enrollments 40K+ students. This big universities have large classroom sizes for starting undergrads. Smaller school are a better teacher-to-student ratio. Their curriculum may not be as extensive as larger schools.
some schools are in urban settings; other schools situated on isolated campus locations. If you select an urban setting, issues such as safety come into play. Schools on isolated campuses may not have urban amenities that may be or your liking.
- Type of Curriculum:
larger schools have a wide array of curriculum that is ideal for students not knowing off hand what they want to major in. But if you are leaning towards one major or another, your task is to find the school that ranks high in your base of discipline
- Quality of Education:
every major 4-year institution has one area where they are strong but other programs may be weak. Again, you need to view rankings and reviews from other attending students
cost is a factor is any college selection. Your goal is to avoid accumulating debt so you can attend a higher price school over a less expensive school. There are school that offer exceptional education at a lower cost. Make sure you compare all costs when selecting school including cost of tuition, fees, housing, supplies, and transportation cost for a trip home during the holidays.
- Admission Requirements:
most schools have standard admittance requirements. But there are school that give higher weighting to SAT test vs. ACT text exams. So check your school entrance exam requirements in order to qualify.
- Help with Financial Aid:
financial aid includes grants, scholarships, work study, student loans and other aid resources to defray the total cost of education. Review peer reviews on the quality of the financial aid services of one school over another. .
- Housing Resources:
it is true that some school have poor or no housing services available; it is entirely up to you to find housing - especially in urban schools. Housing can go fast. So if you decide on a school, get your housing needs settled quickly.
- Nearby Facilities:
campus life can be a lot of fun, but you may want to get away from the "campus feeling". So check around for facilities such as outdoor recreation, urban amenities, and other entertainment..
- Campus Life:
what is campus life at one school over another? You best option is to visit the campus, review the facilities, and review peer groups from current students. You may find some schools are quite boring.
a key issue to review, especially with urban schools that often invite criminal activities. But note that even the isolated campuses have problems. View the security safety features the college offers, especially when your visit the campus.
now what this? Well if you attend a religious-affiliated school, certain actives may not be permissible. On the other hand, if you attend a very liberal leaning university, you may find the lifestyle a bit much for you. Again, review peer reviews and other online information regarding campus lifestyle and activities.
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Making the Move!
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