While some students find a college that meets their wants and needs on the first try, others may have a very different experience. Mine, for example, was one with many detours along the way: a private, historically black, university, two state schools and a community college. Beyond prestige and reputation, here are some considerations that will help your student make a good decision on which university is best for them.
Evaluate Financial Resources: It’s important to make the right financial decision when selecting a university. Students should meet with a financial aid representative to understand the implications of financial aid, scholarships and loans for a traditional degree.
Class Size Matters: Having the right support from your professors can make or break the college experience. Does your student thrive with little guidance, or do they need personal attention? While general education classes tend to be larger, pay attention to the class size for degree-focused courses.
Areas of Study: The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 80% of students change their major at least once. Picking a university with a wide range of programs may prevent the need to change colleges.
Extracurricular Activities: Will the university have opportunities for your student to connect with others outside of class? Finding the right work/life balance might help your student learn something new and feel more connected.
Post-Education Support: Upon graduation, does the school offer support with interview prep or career development? This career-focused support can be vital in helping your student succeed.
Campus Safety: Universities must publish a crime log for their campus and adjacent areas. Review this information and find out how your school prepares for emergencies and takes steps to reduce threats.
Career Opportunities: Internships help set up future career opportunities. Is the community surrounding the university large, vibrant, and diverse enough to support student’s internship needs?
Therapeutic Resources: There are so many overwhelming changes that come with attending college. Selecting a school that has resources for a range of needs is vital.
Diverse Communities: What commitment does the university have to minority students and employees? How the school supports its students and works to create positive social change can be a leading factor in choosing the right school for your student.
Occasionally, a school placement is not a good fit. As an advocate, be willing to provide grace and support as they consider a new destination. After all, college is about self-discovery and gaining skills for the future.
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