After a solid 12 years of hard studying , you’re probably ready to pack up and head off to the best four years of your life. But before you do, check out these quick tips to make sure you choose the college or university that fits your goals and needs.
Keep Your Budget In Mind
School loans seem reasonable enough: You just sign on the dotted line and don’t have to pay it back until you have a degree and a six-figure salary. Then you actually graduate, enter the job market as a newbie, and find that it takes a lot more years of experience to reach that six-figure goal. And while sometimes, student loans are a must, there are some other alternatives. Find schools with cheaper tuitions, and a financial aid package that offers more scholarships and grants than loans. Or, consider attending a university or community college in your home state, so you can receive discounted in-state tuition.
Find a School with the Major You Want
People might try to persuade you to major in something that’s “practical” and will make you lots of money, but if you’re not interested in what you’re studying, you’ll be miserable. That’s why it’s important to pick a school that offers a course of study that you want to pursue. You’ll have more initiative to get that degree and will have skills to build on your natural aptitudes. This quote ab Albert Einstein says it best: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Study what you want, learn it thoroughly, and you’re bound to be a success.
Look For Contacts
No matter what career you chose, the prospects of breaking into that industry without connections can be difficult. Use your time as a student to network with your professors, advisers, career counselors, other students, and of course, alumni. By using your school as a common denominator, you can connect with these people, helping better prepare you for a successful future working life.
Try it Out for a Day
Before making the big discussion, try spending a full day at each school you’re considering. Use this time to see if you can imagine yourself living and learning happily on campus. Are you comfortable with the class sizes? Does the location feel safe and meet your needs? Is it more of a commuter campus? What are the dorms like? etc. It also wouldn’t hurt to sit in a class and talk to current students about how their experiences. This can give you a better view of how the school really operates and if its culture matches your own personality.
Look Beyond Academics
After making sure the school suits you academically, take some time to learn about the extracurriculars it offers. Most colleges have a plethora of clubs, sport teams, and other pre-professional societies. Explore these options before accepting an offer of admission. If you have a particular passion that you can’t live without, make sure you’ll be able to access it at school or at least be able to practice it there.
What colleges are you looking at visiting/attending?