The only way to know for sure what college is best for certain person is to research them and visit them. One never really knows what college will be like until they arrive there but "doing your homework" on the colleges that interests you helps. Try to figure out what environment you would like to be around, understand how diverse the campus is and if that?s for you or not. Most importantly, one should go to a college that has a variety of majors and minors. One never knows if they will actually like the major they start of with. If one goes to a college that does not have variety and one decided they wanted to change and the college doesn't have it, one would have to transfer and that not only means you have to start over socially but that also means one would have to transfer grades and every school makes that as hard as they can.
Try to choose a place where you will be comfortable but also challenged. Go somewhere that's different from home. Forget about where anyone else wants you to go, or where you think has the best reputation. Don't pick a school based on prestige or family tradition or where your high school friends went. Consider where your comfortable and what you want to experience. I am from a small town, so I wanted to experience the city, but not feel lost on campus, so I chose a small school in Chicago, where I can have both community and city. Go somewhere that fits you and the life you want to have. Choose a school where you expect to thrive.
Visit as many schools as possible, expose both parents and kids to everything that goes around campus, don't try to hide anything, apply to as many schools as possible and sooner than later
Let your kids grow.
I would say that it helps to not waste the time or money visiting the college. Just jumping into it is more fun as well as it helps with the students ability to quickly adjust to new and unfamiliar situations.
Know what you are looking for in a college when you start the process. Do you want a party school? An academic school? One with small classes or well-known professors? Do you want to live in a city or in the country? Do you want a school with fraternities and sororities? Are sports important to you? When you visit a school, make sure you make the most of your meeting with a counselor. Don't forget to ask about financial aid and availability of jobs on campus.
As to making the most of your college experience: Don't be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. Find some study buddies; eat with different people; join some intramural teams. Utilize the gym and the library's resources. For some spending money, see if you can snag an on campus job or even one off campus. Explore your surroundings - with friends of course! And of course, most importantly, go to class and LEARN!
Students and parents looking for colleges should visit the campus to see first hand what that school is really like. Keep in mind that the student will be the one attending and/or living at the school and if the student does not feel comfortable there then he/she should consider other options aside from what the parents would desire. The campus environment will play a large factor when determining whether or not to attend that college. The following are important deciding factors and is what parents and students should consider for choosing a college: food availability and meal plans, on or off campus housing, intentionality of professors, resources available for students, and the surrounding environment. The college should be in a location that will benefit the student for school related activities, venturing off campus, and somewhere that the student will be able to make an easy adjustment to the area. The student should look into the social atmosphere. New college students struggle with being away from home for the first time. Look ahead to what type of social settings the student will need to be supported emotionally, spiritually and physically.
First of all I suggest to look at the size of the school and see if that fits. If you want a big school experience, and want to have a ton of people everywhere then look for those types of schools. If you want a small school setting, where it's more intimate with the professor that can make a huge difference in your whole college experience. Another thing to look for are the types of programs and classes that they offer for your major. And if the school is good at getting people internships in areas that have to do with your major.
Find an institution that you know will challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone, specifically the area with which you're the least familiar (location, size, level of intensity, etc...). This is a crucial time to grow and may be strongly hindered by attending a college that is more or less a repeat of your high school experience. Embrace the "fresh start" - academically, socially, and emotionally. Plan and prepare - start forming a mental image of *who* you want to be, *what* kind of friend you want to be, *how* you want others to percieve you, *who* you want to be friends with, *how* to accomplish these things. Finally, always be flexible and do not be thrown off by surprises or things that may not have fit into your orginal plan... I've never heard anybody regret their initial (and intentional) outgoingness when first arriving/meeting people. Finally, keep "facebooking" people beforehand to a minimum...its okay to befriend them and start casual/superficial conversation, but 9 times out of 10 anything beyond that is a recipe for painful awkwardness. Have fun!
The best advice when looking into school that I ever received was to make sure to not just go on a campus visit but stay over-night in the dorms so you can really get a feel for what the social aspect is like. Know what you are looking for; big or small, religious or secular, this will help in the early stages of college decisions. Try not to go to a school where all your friends from high school will attend, getting out of your comfort zone will do so much for you! As clich? as it sounds, when visiting look for the school that when on campus feels right, that feels comfortable. Also, if you are not accepted into your first choice, try not to get to down on yourself, no matter where you go, if your living on campus you will learn so much and grow more than you ever imagined. Finally, try not to focus on all the money your spending, college is one of the best investments and is well worth it, so don't make your decision fully on cost.
The advice I would give parents and students in finding the right college is in a few questions. Where do you see yourself after you leave college? Will you stick around the area and use your degree? How do you see yourself blossoming as a person in those four years and is that something that you want to happen?
make sure you know what you want. small school or big one? christian or secular? big city or college town? if you know these, you can probably find a university that has them. and make sure to ask a lot of questions! the more info you get to start with, the better your enrollment experience will be.
In my personal experience, the college selection process was based primarily on location and majors.
As prepare to enter my junior year I am so happy that I took location largely into consideration. In high school I had a desire to see new places, live among new people and cultures and learn to be independent meaning in a place where I had no friends or family to rely on. The way I look at it is that once one graduates from college the main focus is to begin a career so why not explore and experiment in your young adult years as a college student. I am so thankful for choosing this university, located in urban America. My desires have been fulfilled and I feel through challenging myself I have grown into a better me.
So, parents and students, as you get ready to decide which school to attend remember to keep things in focus. These years are monumental, monumental in a sense that you can put yourself into an environment where as you learn academically you also learn personally. Challenge yourself to be a better you.
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