By Jilliane Hamilton for myUsearch.com
With so many different colleges and universities to choose from, making a final decision can be tough. Each college has its own unique personality, campus life, reputation and atmosphere. Here are some tips to help you choose which college is for you:
- Don't rule out schools that aren't universities. It all depends on your career plans and long-term goals.
- Talk to a student from each school. Ask them why they chose that school and what they like/dislike about the academics and campus life. You're going to get a perspective that's a lot less biased than just checking out the school's website.
- Location, location, location. How often do you plan to spend the weekend at home? Are you ready to make the big move out of state? What kind of weather are you used to?
- Don't choose a school just because your best friend, boyfriend or girlfriend are going there. College is about starting fresh. New home, new place, new school, new friends, new outlook on life. Besides, you may want to use your friend as a security blanket, rather than going out and meeting new people.
- Academically-speaking. Try to contact a couple people in the program or classes you're interested in taking. What's the professor like? What's the work load like? Does the school have a good reputation for their graduates from these programs?
- Dorms. Most freshmen will find that living on campus will make their life a little less hectic. Find out what kind of dorm you'd be moving into with each different university you have on your list. How old are the buildings? What amenities do they offer? You may even want to consider renting an apartment instead of living in the dorms.
- Look at scholarships. Which of your potential schools offer the most scholarships for incoming students? Do they have any just for students from that state or students from out-of-state?
- Consider the extracurriculars available. If you're interested in taking part in extracurriculars, find out which schools offer what clubs, committees and athletics.
- Sometimes, size does matter. Some people just aren't meant for huge campuses. Maybe you prefer a smaller campus with a warmer, more familiar feel. Then again, larger universities often offer more amenities, social activities and extracurriculars.
- If possible, take a campus tour of 2 or more schools. Get a feel for the atmosphere and go with your gut feeling. If it doesn’t feel right for you, perhaps you should keep looking.
Jillianne Hamilton is a blogger, writer and journalism student in Charlottetown, PEI. She blogs for various college websites, including myUsearch.com, an unbiased website where you can search and compare colleges for free.