To "Do college"...or "Not To Do college"...that is the question.
This is one of the many huge decisions high school students and their families have to make in their lives. It is so serious that some parents have already planned for their children's college education even while they were still infants or sometimes even before they are born.
And why not? College is a big undertaking that does not only have a great impact on your education but it will decide on your profession and the kind of work you will be doing for the rest of your life. It sounds scary, doesn't it?
But, if you have planned ahead and have given things a lot of thought, it wouldn't be. It is always recommended that high school students start planning and thinking when they are already in their junior year in high school, or better yet, earlier.
So, if you are one of those students who are already considering the college they want to get into, here are some guidelines you can mull about before deciding on the right school for you:
1. The first and most essential step is to know what you want to study in college and what you want to be as far as your work life. When you already know what you want to "major in", that will help to determine the schools and colleges where you can enroll that offers the necessary courses. Try to check with your guidance counselors in your high school or take career assessment tests if you are still undecided and uncertain on what course to take.
2. Determine what type of college you want to enroll in. There are so many colleges and universities in the country, each with their own unique characteristics, offerings and specializations. The following questions can help you evaluate the college you might want to enroll in:
- What are the degrees offered in the college and the majors and minors?
- Do you want a public or a private college?
- Are entry expectations realistic in the college?
- Where is the college located and do you want to study near your home or away from home?
- How safe is the location of the college?
- What are the housing options in the college? Do they have dormitories, apartments and other areas for boarding near the campus?
- Do you want to enroll in a highly populated college or a smaller one? In this area, try to consider also the class size given for course subject.
- How much are the tuition fees and other expenses that could incur on your stay in that college such as board, etc?
- Does the college offer scholarships and other financial assistance packages?
- How are the facilities such as libraries, laboratories, etc. in the college. This is a special consideration especially if the college course you want to take requires extensive use of facilities or up-to date facilities.
- What are the internship programs offered by the college?
- Is the college accredited by distinguished accrediting bodies? Does the college have a reputation of giving high quality education?
- Is the college composed of highly qualified faculty members?
- How diverse is the population of the college in terms of gender, race, culture, etc.?
- What are the organizations and activities in the college that contribute to the social life of students?
3. Check out various college and university information in your school, or check out school websites in the Internet. Advice and suggestions from families will help, as well as information disseminated at college fairs and career orientations.
4. With the answers you gathered from the things you need to consider in step 2, gather a list of colleges and universities from step 3 that match up with your requirements. Narrow down the list of colleges you want to consider entering. The number of colleges should be realistic enough for you and your parents to be able to check them out and visit them.
5. Visit the colleges that you have considered in the previous step. This is an important phase for you to determine if the campus feels right for you. You can do this by attending a class, meeting some of the students, touring the school and its facilities and trying things you will be doing there should you enroll in that college.
6. After doing all of these, submit application letters to the colleges that made your list, that you visited and you feel you want to be enrolled at. The number of schools where you should apply will depend on your situation financially since most colleges charge application fees. Try to consider the best college for you and some colleges that you feel will take you just in case the best college turns you down.
7. Let's face it. A college education is very heavy on your parent's and/or even your own pockets, so while waiting for your application results, try to look for scholarships that can help mom and dad with your college tuition fee especially if you need financial assistance. Check out with your high school or in the Internet for listings of college scholarships.
8. If you've been accepted by some of the schools you've applied in, you have to make the ultimate choice on where to attend.
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David Arnold Livingston believes in higher education including college..
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