6 Useful Tips and Tricks when Choosing The Best College

There are many things to consider when selecting a college, and the process is not an exact science—it is very personal. There should be a number of schools that will be a good match for you. Be sure to keep an open mind during this process! It is all about the match—finding a place that will stimulate you at all levels.

When choosing a college, there are many things to remember, but the process cannot be taught, as it is not an exact science – it is very personal. A variety of schools may be a nice fit for you, be sure to keep an open mind while reading this! It is all about the match – seeking an option to stimulate you at all level.

1. Assess your academic profile first

As a future student, you ought to take a deep look at yourself. Each college offers a profile of the students they admit, including details on averages of mid-grade points, SAT/ACT ratings, and class rank. When assessing applications, many colleges take a comprehensive approach, i.e. they look at more than grades and ratings, but you need to be pragmatic about how you can fit in academically. You want to choose a place where you can excel.

2. Consider how you are going to pay for college

This is a big talk that you need to have with your parents before getting started. This aspect alone, especially if you are an international student in need of assistance, will drive your quest for college.

3. Identify your priorities taking into account the following aspects and asking yourself some questions:

Location is key!

Do you have family or friends in the U.S.? If so, would it be helpful to live next to them?


Will you easily adapt to the a different climate?


Is there a specific state or city that you have always dreamt about?

Setting – urban, suburban, rural

Are you excited for the hustle and bustle of the big cities?


Would you prefer a quieter campus, but with easy access to the activities of a big city?


Would you prefer a school surrounded by nature, with more opportunities for outdoor activities?

Important! do your research about what rural schools have to offer too!

Size does matter

When you close your eyes and imagine the ideal university, is it a large one?


Would you like the idea of a smaller school where everyone knows everyone, including the professors? Like who’s dating, who’s hating…

Are you more efficient in a small group of students or a larger classroom?

Type of School

Is it going to be liberal arts or a clear major?


Have you decided on specialized school, such as an art school or medicine, or would you take into account or a service academy?


How about a single sex school?


Would you be interested a religiously affiliated school?

Athletics

Do you intend to play any sport in college?


Would you compete for Division I sports?


Would you rather play at a Division II, having more chances of playing each game?


Would you like to be able to play a sport just for fun?

Campus Facilities

Do you want to live in campus or rent your place and commute?


Would you want to have a car on campus?


How picky are you when it comes to food and lunches?


Do you have special dietary needs?


Do you require accessibility for disabilities?

Special Programs

Do you need services or programs with special facilities and teaching for disabilities?


What do you think about ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps)?


Do you need ESL(English as a Second Language) support?

Are you looking for an honors program?

Campus Life

Do you plan to join a fraternity or sorority?


Would you like to continue your high school activities in college?

Do you want to partake in the community service?

4. Gather information – Research colleges and come up with a doable list (around 20 institutions)

College Search Programs – Generate a list of colleges that meet your individual criteria using a college search program. You will see that these programs can filter a lot of information.

College/Career Center at your school or local Fulbright Office – Here you may find viewbooks, catalogs, academic programs reviews, videos, guides, and general information regarding rankings, majors, cost, competitiveness.

Admission Offices – It is always a good idea to contact colleges for more information. Admission offices welcome this kind of inquiries and most of the times are able to correspond with you personally.

College Representatives and College Fairs – These are groups and individual college representatives who travel to meet students just like you. This is a special opportunity for you to discuss directly with representatives and learn firsthand about your curiosities.

5. Evaluate Your Choices

Evaluate again what criteria are most important to you. List the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

6. Decide Where You Want to Apply

Most students apply to at least three or four colleges. Your selections should fall into three categories:
Reach schools – either academically or financially.
Probable schools – will likely accept you.
Safety schools – will certainly accept you.
In each case, they should be schools in which you can live happily for four years.

What do you take into consideration when applying to university?

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