Heading off to college is a big step in a person’s life. It signifies the start of adulthood for many people as they begin a new journey on their own and prepare for their future careers.
However, with thousands of schools all around the world, trying to narrow it down to just one can be challenging.
Here are four tips to help you choose where to go to college:
1. Consider the Location
The location should be one of the first things you consider in this major decision. You may want to stay close to your family or you may want to get away from them.
You may choose to go somewhere that offers a climate or culture you enjoy in another country. Perhaps you prefer living in a smaller college town, or going to school in a sprawling metropolis sounds better.
While you can stay in your town or country to study, there are many opportunities to study somewhere else in the world.
There are some rules and regulations you must research before you make this decision and the various steps of the process could take a while to complete, so plan your time wisely and begin your research far in advance.
For example, if you are planning to go to school in Canada as an international student, you’ll need to show proof of proficiency in English or French, especially if you plan on working there when you have finished your studies.
2. Research the Programs Thoroughly
The academic quality of the school you are attending is an important consideration in your decision. It needs to be a place that is well-respected in the field you are entering and provides you with the education you need to succeed in life.
While the overall quality of the academics is important, you want to choose somewhere that is known for the program you want to apply for.
For example, a school may rank as average overall but have one of the best biology programs in the country. This could be due to the professors, the labs, the funding, or simply the location.
While where you got a degree may not be important in some fields, there are some schools or programs that certainly have a better reputation than others.
3. The Size of the School
The size of a college can differ greatly from one to another. Some may have only a few hundred students, while others can have tens of thousands.
Neither is better than the other, it is all about what you prefer.
Some people may prefer the excitement of attending a large school that constantly has large events going on and a wide variety of extracurricular activities to choose from.
Others may prefer a school where they can get a specialized degree or develop closer relationships with the professors, since there is a higher chance for more one-on-one time and mentoring.
In a similar vein, you also want to choose a college that has the right campus environment for your needs. Some people like a busy campus in the center of a city, others may prefer a smaller campus with more outdoor space.
4. The Costs
While post-secondary schooling is free in some parts of the world, this definitely isn’t true in others.
In fact, the average cost of college in a public school (in-state) in the U.S. was more than $20,000 in 2017-2018, including tuition, fees, and room and board.
As a result, it’s important to think about the costs when deciding where to go. Also, consider how much you will need for books and supplies, and transportation.
In general, going to school in your home state can lower the costs, but you may still be responsible for paying thousands of dollars per year.
To lighten the burden, be sure to ask about scholarships, grants, and other types of financial aid that could help you out.
Choosing the Best School for Your Needs
By carefully thinking about these four important considerations, you will be able to choose the best school for your needs, interests, and budget.
There are many other things that go into making this important decision, so begin your research early and plan ahead!