All schools are not created equal
So you’ve been accepted to college or university. Well done! You’ve been accepted to more than one? Okay, well you’ve got some decisions to make.
Everyone’s unique, so when picking a school, everyone’s deal-breakers will be different. Here’s our check list of factors to consider when picking a college or university.
By that we mean the proximity to where you live now. Some people want to stay as close to home as possible, while others want to move as far away as possible. Which is right for you? The comfort of having family and friends nearby, or the thrill of starting fresh somewhere new?
Google your would-be schools and look beyond their websites. Look at news stories too. Don’t forget to read message boards: people aren’t afraid to post the unfiltered truth there. You might gain some helpful insight like, “The student meal plan is a joke,” or “Watch out for Professor Smith.” Also, if getting a job right out of school is super important to you, look for stats on employment rates for their graduates.
Bigger isn’t always better. Maybe you’d do better on a smaller campus with smaller class sizes and individual attention. Be honest with yourself. What would be the best environment for you?
Schools have looked into your certification, now it’s time to look into theirs. Make sure your prospective schools have all the up-to-date certifications. Schools have to work very hard to get certified, so their accreditation should be easy to find on their website.
#5 Other course offerings
A friend of mine was studying nursing at college. Then one day decided he wanted to study robotics engineering. That’s an extreme example, but it’s good to know that if things don’t work out in your chosen program there are other offerings at the school that you can study without having to uproot your entire life.
#6 Student aid
Call the student aid officers directly. It’s their job to “show you the money”. Find out what scholarships and bursaries you can get, then factor them in to decide how much tuition will actually cost you.
#7 Student housing
Look into their student residence and off-campus housing. Some smaller towns are still going through a housing crunch as more and more students are opting to live off-campus, so it’s good to check out availability ahead of time.
Your parents may not want this to be a factor, but it is. Look into the local nightlife to make sure you’ll have lots of opportunities to “unwind.” Also, remember to factor in how much money you can afford to spend on entertainment.
Be sure that you can still pursue your interests while you study. Find out what kinds of teams, clubs, and outings you can be a part of.
#10 Gut feeling
Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts. If you go visit a campus and get a bad vibe from it, trust that feeling. There’s probably something going on that doesn’t jive with you, but you just can’t put your finger on it.