4 Things to Consider When Considering Colleges
Welcome back to the SYKTC blog! We aim to use this blog to help students around WNY, along with their families, to better understand the many moving parts of college planning. One major aspect of preparing for college is figuring out what school (or schools) you want to apply for.
When thinking about your future, it's going to be important to make decisions that are of sound mind and ensure you're making the best choice for YOU. Not what we say, not what the guidance counselor says, whatever college is best for YOU. YOU are the one who will walk away with a degree, and with that degree comes a bill. Don't make the mistake of regretting your college choice.
Here are 4 things to consider when considering what college to apply to...
The most important thing is academics. You don't need to declare a college major until your junior year, but you're much more likely to succeed if you're excited about the options available. Any possible major that you are considering should be represented at the school you're considering. Having the major available is only one aspect.
Dig deep into the type of learner you are, and ensure you're going to be in the right learning environment. Consider class sizes, and available support, and do some research on some of the professors in your favorite majors. How is the program you're considering respected amongst alumni and faculty? Review your own academic scores and grades to see how they stack up against your peers who may be applying alongside you.
It's important to consider your ability to pay when thinking about what college you want to go to. Don't be unrealistic. Don't seek to take on immense debt just because you want the vanity of attending a certain college. This doesn't mean to not shoot high though! Just because a school's "sticker" price may be high does NOT mean you should cross it off your list.
Getting the highest grades possible, along with getting high scores on your SAT or ACT tests can help you become eligible for merit-based financial aid. Most colleges and universities will offer financial aid packages that could really lower your final bill if you put yourself in a good position! (We can help you understand how to do this!)
Every college is different! Sure you may see some similarities between colleges, but in reality, no two college experiences are the same. Before you apply for ANY school, do your due diligence on the culture of the campus. What types of things are important to you to ensure you have a great time while getting your education? Nobody here will ever say that college shouldn't be THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE! Don't waste money on being somewhere you don't like.
Do you want a quiet country campus? A loud big-city school campus? A sleek art school? How far do you want to be from home? Do you want to get away? Are You SURE? Taking a visit and reaching out to folks who have attended the college will help you get your answer, but don't wait until the day you get dropped off to realize... uh this isn't for me.
Post-Grad Career Options
College is fun, but it's no fun paying back a bill for a degree that's worthless. Part of getting a positive college experience is walking out of graduation prepared for a professional career. How do your top college choices prepare students for the "Real World?" Does the college provide any career-building tools? workshops? events? Do you have opportunities to learn from alumni who work in your potential major's industry? A good differentiator between your last two schools could be which one provides better options for becoming a professional in your field.
These are only 4 of MANY things you should consider when picking out what schools to apply for! For more information on choosing a college, please don't hesitate to reach out via our contact form or give us a call! We are proud to help students and families of WNY to get more out of their education!