Choosing the Right College: 5 Tips

Choosing the right college can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be as scary as you may think. Selecting the right college is made easier when you choose a school that has the programs you want, fits your lifestyle and your budget. When you are making the decision on which school to attend, carefully consider the qualities that will make your experience a positive one.

Programs offered at the college

As you start looking for the right college, one of the main reasons you will choose a particular college is because of the availability of the programs offered. Depending on what career you decide to do after graduation, you will want to attend a college that offers the program that will lead to the degree that you need. Start searching for a college based on the degree program.

Location and convenience of the college

When choosing the college you wish to attend, consider the location of the school and it's convenience to where you plan to reside and work. An easy low-cost option is to live at home with your parents while you attend classes. Or you may wish to attend college out of state and live in college dorms to maximize your college experience. For many students, the choice to take classes over the Internet makes the best sense because it allows for the most flexibility in living arrangements and the time needed to attend classes.

Tuition and other costs of the college

Choosing to attend college is a costly decision in the first place because it requires having extra money to pay for tuition, books, registration, lab and parking fees. When trying to decide what college to go to, keep in mind the overall costs of going to school and how you will best handle those financial matters. A small local community or technical school generally costs less than a big university so you may want to try a local school first if money is an issue initially.

Extracurricular activities offered by the school

For students who love to participate in sports, clubs and other special activities, being able to continue those interests in college are a plus. In fact, many colleges offer scholarships for special activities. If you are serious about wanting to continue to play as hard as you study, then choosing a college that features team activities and clubs is worth considering.

Reputation and hiring rate of college graduates

A couple of areas that are often overlooked when choosing a college are their overall reputation in particular industries and how successful the college is at getting new graduates into careers. Check with the career development office to find out what area employers hire graduates of their programs to start new jobs. Also find out what career referral and support services are available at the college you plan to attend to help you find a job after graduation.