With the end of high school comes a responsibility much greater than just graduating. The most difficult task is choosing the right college or university to attend to best fulfill one’s educational needs. With a plethora of competitive universities and colleges to choose from, a student and his/her parents can become easily overwhelmed with such an important task. Therefore, it is crucial to identify a few basic needs of the student to make the right college choice.
First and foremost the student should have a clear idea of the kinds of things he/she would like to study. Many find it difficult to choose a major; however, an idea of subjects the student enjoys and is talented in should help to set him/her on the right path. Identifying strengths and weaknesses and taking career-placement tests often serves as a guide in determining what kind of career one would like to pursue. Those who already know their area of interest are one step ahead of the game.
Once you have identified your interests, analyze the job market of your profession. See what kinds of positions are available and how your particular area of interest is progressing. Research the demands of your desired job and see what you can do to enhance your resume to make you stand out from the competition. Also spend some time looking at statistics about your area of interest and the current status of its condition in terms of job availability.
Next, select a number of universities/colleges that specialize in your area of interest and compare/contrast the strengths and weaknesses. Consider factors such as location, school size, tuition, financial aid, internship opportunities, and the school’s relationship with the job market. Take the time to study school statistics, especially graduation rates and professor evaluations. You want to make sure you are getting exactly what you want for the money you are paying. Also take into consideration whether the college/university is public or private as the tuition rate may vary significantly between the two. A helpful tip when making this choice – if you are certain about the career you will choose to pursue, select a private university if its program is stronger than that of a public’s. Although you may come across higher costs, the degree from a private college will put you ahead in the competition for jobs. If you are not certain about your exact career choice, you may want to choose a public university/college which allows lots of leeway and exploration of subjects before declaring a major; it is also usually less costly than a private institution.
Finally, study the competitiveness of your colleges of choice. Apply to a school you are certain will accept you, as well as to a school that may be challenging to get into, with a higher competition rate. Most importantly, do your research on each school you are applying to so that you know exactly what you’re signing up for and investing your future into. Make sure to follow up with all applications and deadlines, and keep up your GPA.
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