Home > Resources > College Prep > Choosing the Right School

Choosing the Right School

Consider what is most important to you when a school when you narrow down your options. Eliminate schools from your list that are unrealistic, not in your desired location, do not offer you field of study, and lack the campus lifestyle you want. Remember to apply to schools for what they offer, not what they lack. Once you have been accepted to schools, compare their financial aid packages and factor cost into your decision. Decide how many student loans you are willing to take out for school. If you think your dream school is worth the financial stretch, apply for scholarships and grants to reduce the cost as much as possible.

Put Reputations Aside

Every high school senior has a dream school. Always apply to more than one school. Apply to that dream school, but have a list of backup schools. Look into schools that are in your dream location, but are less competitive and more affordable. Also look for schools that offer a wide range of programs so you can enter as undecided, and change your major easily in the future. Remember, during your college search, put reputations aside, and prioritize your list on your criteria, not based on your peers’.

Cost Considerations

If you're concerned about student debt, consider community college. Starting at 2 year school and transferring credits will save money and lower student loan debt. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, enrollment at community college has increased by 25%. Many students enrolled in community college are returning students looking to improve their skills or pick up a new, more marketable trade. If you plan to attend community college to complete your general education requirements, confirm with your college that the credits are acceptable. If community college is not for you, look at state schools to lower your cost of education. You will still get the full college experience at half the cost of a private institution. Staying in state will also make you eligible for state scholarships. Choosing the right school is difficult, but with research you will find the perfect school at the right price.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

McDonald's, Ivy Tech Team Up on College Tuition Assistance Program

January 23, 2020

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

More than 300 McDonald's locations will participate in the new Archways to Opportunity education program which - through its partnership with Indiana's community college system - will help its employees afford college tuition. McDonald's employees who work a minimum 15 hours per week for 90 days can receive up to $2,500 in college tuition assistance each year - or $3,000 per year for managers - at 18 Ivy Tech Community College campuses located in Indiana.

[...]

Get Paid to Play in College with ESA Esports Scholarships

January 21, 2020

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced its first Esports scholarship, expanding its 20-year-old scholarship program to include Esports competitors in college, according to Polygon. The ESA Esports scholarship program is "intended to elevate the participation of women and minorities" who currently "account for a very small percentage of Esports scholarship recipients. Therefore, in order to be eligible for the ESA Foundation Computer and Video Game Arts Scholarship, you must either be a woman or minority and pursuing a degree leading to a career in computer and video game arts and sciences. Current high school seniors, college freshman, sophomore and juniors who are U.S. citizens may apply for the ESA Esports scholarship. Applicants must also be enrolled full-time in an undergraduate program at an accredited four (4) year college or university in the upcoming fall semester in order to be considered. All scholarship applications are due March 2, 2020 at 11:59 PST. Applicants will receive results by mid-June and funds will be issued to scholarship winners by end of August. [...]

Biggest / Largest Dollar Scholarships in 2020

January 16, 2020

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

When it comes to large dollar scholarships, mo' money means fewer problems in paying your college tuition bill. The average student will land between $1,000 and $5,000 in college scholarships after investing a decent amount of time and effort into applying for scholarships. Even smaller scholarships worth $500 are enough to cover books and fees, even if they aren't enough to foot an entire semester’s college tuition bill. [...]

Last Reviewed: January 2020