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The United States of America proves to be an unparalleled student destination with over 4,000 colleges and universities offering unmatched educational experiences along with diverse course options. If you are looking forward to getting admissions in top colleges and universities in the US, here is what you need to do.
Do: Start Early
Ideally, you should begin preparing for your applications in US universities by the time you are through with your 11th year of education. This gives you ample time to prepare your case against the million other applications you are likely to be competing against. Most American universities encourage you to opt for IB exams even though A Levels are not really discouraged. Besides this, you need to have your SAT scores ready by the time you begin with the application process. Plan your activities so your application stands a chance to outshine the competition.
Don’t: Standardize Templates
All American Universities do not follow a standardized template for applications. So try not to do so. You will be applying to each university individually. The best way to go about this is to search for each institute’s application template and then create a specialized one for each. You might be able to make use of the same information in most applications. However, make sure you keep in mind each destination’s codes before finalizing your application forms.
Do: Plan Your Educational Environment
The best part about top undergraduate universities in the US is the fact that each institute offers a unique experience when it comes to lifestyle, expenses, night life, landscapes, population and culture. Make sure you research about your destination university thoroughly. If you’d rather stay away from the city center buzz, there will be a perfect option waiting for you. Invest significant amount of time in planning your educational environment. Also, have at least 2 to 3 contingency plans in case you are unable to get into the preferred university.
Don’t: Miss Out On Campus Day!
This is one day you surely don’t want to miss. It will give you the precise idea about what to expect when you join the university as a student. You will be able to witness the campus life for real. It is usually held during the month of October. Get in touch with the admission office of your preferred university for more details.
Do: Plan Your Expenses
You need to make payments out of the pocket on numerous occasions. For instance, you will need to pay college admission fee at the time of application submission. Once you’ve secured your status, the next biggest thing you need to plan for is the visa. Then on you need to care for your tuition expenses, accommodation expenses, travel costs, costs for educational resources and several miscellaneous expenses you will be incurring on a regular basis. It is a good idea to have a plan beforehand about how you will be funding all these expenses. Apply for scholarships well in advance if you need to.
Don’t: Be a Nerd
Top Colleges and Universities in the US are looking out for humans that will make an interesting addition to the campus. Participate actively in extracurricular activities besides studies. You will need something interesting to connect with your application viewer!
For many students, studying abroad is the way that they choose to gain an education. The reasons why one might choose to study abroad are many. Common reasons include wanting to gain a certain licensure (I.E., the fact that medicine degrees in the states are highly valued) or simply the wish to go out and experience a part of the world that one has never seen before. There are many different schools that cater to international students. The factors as to why many students choose certain international destinations.
Some of the international destinations include major cities such as New York. New York is packed with brilliant schools such as The New School, and Columbia University. The US News and World Report recently released a ranking that stated that 29% of The New School’s student population was comprised of international students. Soka University is comprised at about 39% international students.
Here are some factors to consider when applying for school abroad:
1- Special Admission Requirements
Does the school have any special admission requirements for international students? Check with a counselor from the school to make sure that you meet all of the literacy and education requirements necessary for admission to the school.
Is the school in a good location? Are you more comfortable living in the city or the country? Such things are often considered by most college students and not just international ones. However, international students may find that living in a city will give them access to more resources that will help them better adjust to life away from home.
How close is the school to a major airport? Is it easy to get around campus? Since you will likely be attending school without access to a car these will all be important things to consider.
4- Student Body
How diverse is the student body? While some people are comfortable being the only one of their ethnic group in the entire school others may not be so comfortable, particularly if this is their first real time away from home. Having other international students that you can connect with will help you adjust.
5- What is the reputation of the Institute in your specific discipline of study
A lot many students make the mistake of going by generic rankings, remember institutes have different ranks in different disciplines of study, rankings for a specific discipline or department are based on numerous criteria like on-going research, quality of the faculty, amount of industry funded projects in progress, Number of international students etc. So before making a decision make sure you have all the relevant data specific to your discipline for the institute in question.
6- Placements and industry tie-ups
Ongoing research in a university or institute is a very good indicator of the institute’s accomplishment and reputation in industry circles for a specific discipline. A little known fact is that usually job placements from a department are intrinsically linked to the number of funded projects in progress within a department.
7- Financial Aid or On Campus Job options
As an international student you will be looking to recover a part or – in an ideal situation – all of your education expenses through RAs TAs or on campus jobs. Check out the following factors number of RA or TA positions granted within your department, total amount of money distributed as aid, and finally percentage of students who is granted financial aid in any given year.
8- What Do I Want to Study? Can I use my degree back home?
Certain degrees are very specific to the country that they are earned in. For instance, the medical licensing requirements in the US are different from those in France because the US is generally more permissive when it comes to alternative medicine such as Osteopathy.
Another example is a law degree. Many countries have differing requirements for the education of lawyers that have to be met.
Some choice destinations for international college students are not only schools in New York but also schools in other city centers such as Washington DC, San Francisco, and Boston. Choice destinations for international students also include The College of William & Mary in the small town of Williamsburg, Virginia. William & Mary is known for the large amount of students from china that it attracts due to its’ magnificent law school and excellent science programs.
William & Mary also boasts a unique claim to fame: it is surrounded by a 300 year old city where the revolutionary era way of life is preserved, making it an excellent opportunity for students who also study history or the arts.
In short, there are many different factors that determine what the best destination for an international student is. The main factor is you. Make sure to use these tips but remember: you are not going to school for the sake of someone else. You are going for the sake of yourself and the most important thing is that you make yourself happy.
Australia is one of the most exotic educational abodes that attract over 6,000 international students on a yearly basis. While there are several institutions more than willing to receive student enrollments from anywhere in the world, it creates confusion about the options most suitable for you. Australia has innumerable attractions when it comes to work flexibility, national safety, amiable coalition on government level with most countries, and so on and so forth. If you are looking to get into the top universities in Australia, here is what you need to do.
Do Your Research
Australia houses over 40 state-accredited universities offering specializations in various subjects. You need to research about each of these options thoroughly in order to identify the best Australian university for yourself. This does not only mean keeping an eye on the course of your choice and the universities offering these, but also looking for their policies, fee structures, accommodation facilities, campus life, survival tactics and other similar resources. It is not only about surviving a day or two in a foreign university but rather about spending years at a stretch! Go through their resources thoroughly to make sure your basic needs are met.
Admissions and Visa Processing
Before you can actually savor the academic environment at your selected Australian universities, you need to go through the tedious admission and visa processing procedures. It is recommended for you to apply at more than one university while trying to secure your admissions. This ensures you have a contingency plan in case your primary plan does not work out. Since the admission dates and deadlines are closely synchronized, you might not be able to build your secondary plan at a later date.
Most universities demand TOEFL or IELTS scores. The minimum TOEFL score accepted at most institutions is 213/300 or above. For IELTS, it is about 5-6 for secondary school courses and 6+ for higher education. Make sure you have your results ready well in time to make the most of your academic opportunity.
As far as visa processing is concerned, keep in mind that this would be slightly easier (and surer) if you have already secured admission in a university. However, it is possible for you to apply for other types of short term visas as well. Make sure you are in possession of an appropriate student visa while entering the university to protect yourself against unlikely outcomes or complications at a later date. Visit the Australian embassy in your city at the earliest to find out the requirements and visa application process.
Before Starting Off…
Evaluate the resources available to you practically before making your way into Australia. You will need to pay the tuition fees, the cost of accommodation, the cost of educational resource material and several other miscellaneous expenses that may be significantly more than any estimate you see online. You need to have safety cash to protect yourself against bankruptcy. If you don’t have the kind of cash you need to survive university, make sure you’ve checked through scholarship opportunities and loans conditions previously. If nothing else works, rest assured most universities in Australia will allow you to work part-time alongside your education. Know your plans of action in every situation that may or may not happen to you! The rest should be fine!
How to Apply to Colleges
Applying for college admission is detailed and difficult. Though some countries may have slightly different requirements and timelines, some basic guidelines pretty much apply across the board. The process ideally begins in the junior year of high school. Usually prospective students are required to meet multiple requirements, some of which have strict deadlines.
Preparation, and taking it a step at a time, can make the system less daunting. Advisers are available to guide students through the steps. Here are some tips for how to apply to colleges.
1. Start in High School
In your junior year of high school, start making a list of possible colleges. Consider their academics, programs, costs, location, size, and other factors like entrance examination requirements etc.
Learn about their admissions policies and standards, to discern whether they might consider your grades, test scores, and other qualifications adequate. You may not have taken the right classes in high school to get you into a college.
If your shortlisted colleges require you to take any admission tests – like SAT- 1, ACT, IELTS &/or TOEFL – the ideal time to appear for any of these tests is by the end of your Junior Year or at the begining of Senior year. Since most examination scores have a validity of – at least – two or more years, this schedule would ensure you can devote optimum time to your senior year academics and grades.
By the summer before your senior year in high school, you should be ramping up your efforts. This is the time to decide where to apply. Read guidebooks and school rankings. Get help from admissions-office advisers or private counselors.
Schedule campus visits, and while at the colleges complete their interview requirements. Take admission tests or entrance exams. Whittle your list to a few schools, and begin writing the mandated essays.
2. Prepare Applications
The typical deadline for applications to colleges for the fall semester is Jan. 1, though some schools accept them as early as the previous fall. It is recommended that you file as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of acceptance.
The actual filing of applications and associated paperwork has become much easier in recent years. While this can still be done by regular mail, most colleges accept the common application. It is a standard online form, developed by a nonprofit organization, that makes it easy to email applications to all the schools on your final list.
Some colleges have their own forms, or require essays and supplementary materials. Applications generally ask for grade-point average, standardized-test scores, class rank, SAT or ACT scores, extracurricular activity record, awards, and other information.
3. Pay Application Fees
At last report, colleges were charging an average of $60 in application fees. Some impose fees of $200 or more. However, there are schools that waive these costs for online applicants.
Some colleges provide free applications for relatives of their alumni, students recommended by other graduates, and those who demonstrate financial need. You might be able to have fees waived by taking part in interviews or writing additional essays.
4. Submit Other Materials
Colleges vary in their requirements, but it is common for them to ask for an essay that is sometimes called a “personal statement.” You will be asked to answer a question, in your own words, in 300 or more words. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, word usage, sentence structure, and other writing abilities are needed for this task. You might have to write other essays, as well. Have someone possessing such skills edit anything you write.
In addition to essays, you will have to send each school your high school transcript, and recommendations by teachers or guidance counselors.
The competition is intense for admission to many colleges and universities. Only those who have the proper credentials are considered. There are ways to improve your odds of getting into the college of your dreams, or at least one near the top of your list. Follow these steps, and get a great start on your post-secondary experience.
The First Hurdle - College Admissions
One of the most dreaded times for most students come with transition from high school into college. A vast majority do not end up in their preferred colleges due to not being able to reach required standards. It is best to begin your college search well before your senior year at high school so you have ample time to prepare for it accordingly. Here are a few tips to help you through the tedious college admission process.
Deciding On Local or Foreign Colleges
Some students might want to pursue their college years in a foreign country while others wouldn’t. It is essential for you to be clear on this decision before you lodge yourself on a college search. On this note, it is important to remember that the education policies that are applied in your local state might be different from your destination. A thorough research of all such factors that influence your admission to a foreign university should be sorted out during high school so you have minimum lag time between finishing high school and starting college.
Browsing Through Your Options
Whether you are looking for local colleges or foreign ones, it is good to remember that there are a wide range of choices available to you. There is a college for everyone and every discipline – so you will definitely make it to one if you are willing to study. However, you do need to identify those universities that are aligned with your educational goals. Make a list of all universities that offer the courses you are looking for. This will help you in short listing your choices in the next step.
Narrowing Down Your Choices
Some universities may have high selection standards; some would have unfeasible locations while a few others may not have the academic environment you are looking for. This is the time where you go through your list of options and cut down those that are out of reach due to legitimate reasons. Make sure you have a handful of choices in the end to serve as a safety net!
Familiarizing Yourself with Admission Policies and Meeting Requirements
Most colleges have their own set of admission policies and preferences. Make sure you go through these and are well aware of them before applying to the college. For instance, some colleges might require you to provide SAT scores and recommendation letters while applying for admissions. Some might put special emphasis on completing your high school education before applying to college. Some may even require you to take some specific courses during high school before becoming eligible to apply to the institution. Make sure you are aware of all such requirements and have met them before applying to the college.
Bookmarking Important Dates
All colleges have schedules for admissions and semesters. These planning are done well in advance. Make sure you have bookmarked all important dates on your calendar so you do not end up missing out on deadlines. The last thing you need is to settle for something less just because you forgot the deadline to apply to your favorite university!
Applying With Complete Documents
Most universities have a policy that states, “Incomplete applications will not be entertained”. Therefore, it is important to understand and match up with their criteria of a complete application. Double check the documents you have attached with your profile before sending it in. There are no second chances in this phase!
Celebrating College Admissions
If you have applied to a college with complete documents and you have matched with their selection criteria, there is least probability for you to be rejected. Be confident and self-assured as you go through their selection phases; if you think you deserve it, you definitely will get in. Do not forget to celebrate your success with those who made it possible!
High school graduates planning to pursue postsecondary education need to research the admission criteria of the universities they are considering. Schools’ requirements vary, in terms of academic standards and other factors.
Your list of potential universities may include institutions in the United States and Canada. The admission criteria of colleges in the two countries have quite a few common components, but there are some differences that students should know.
Admission officials in both countries place a high value on applicants’ academic performance, as indicated by their high school grade-point average. Minimum standards are often in place, disqualifying students with bad grades.
In the United States and Canada, a student’s application packet must contain a high school transcript, detailing classes taken and grades received; essays, which may include a “personal statement”; a list of extracurricular activities, jobs, and community service; and letters of recommendation from counselors, teachers, employers, or others.
The Canadian System
A major difference between the two countries is that, in Canada, admission criteria are set on the provincial level (rather than by individual institutions).
A student’s grade-point average as a senior in high school is the most important factor in gaining admission to a university. In some provinces, 11th-grade GPAs also count. Most universities accept students with GPAs of 70 percent, though some provinces set the bar higher. The grade requirement is often less demanding for in-province students than for those who live in another province.
Universities in Canada, as well as the United States, mandate that students pass exams to prove their literacy or language proficiency. This generally involves fluency in English, though exclusively French-speaking students are accepted by postsecondary institutions in Quebec and New Brunswick.
Applicants need to understand that the term “college” does not have the same definition in both countries. When Canadians speak of a college, they are referring to an institution similar to the community colleges and technical schools found in the United States. Students who attend such colleges often are pursuing two-year associate’s degrees or certificates in specific careers. While Canadian colleges also offer bachelor’s degrees, none of them have master’s programs. The word “university” is used for the same type of school in each nation.
In their applications to Canadian universities, students must declare a program. The usual choices are sciences, the arts, and business. Within each category are multiple majors, but students are not expected to immediately choose one.
A high school diploma or general-equivalency degree is a standard requirement of universities in both nations. In Canada, though, students older than 25 years of age (who have been out of school for at least two years) are eligible to apply for admission, even without having graduated from high school. Officials consider their intellectual maturity, interests, employment history, and financial need.
A student at a Canadian university must perform at least 40 hours of community service or volunteer work as a condition of earning a degree. U.S. schools impose no such mandate.
Unlike in the United States, applying to a university in Canada does not entail a lot of competition with other students. There are a limited number of placements in any program, and some types of degrees are more highly sought than others. However, most students find it relatively easy to be accepted by the school of their choice.
The U.S. System
In the United States, the “common application” makes it simple to send information to admission officials at multiple universities. Students may apply to as many institutions as they like. Most colleges and universities admit students to the school, rather than to a degree program.
The fact that each university determines its own admission criteria makes the application process a bit more complicated than the Canadian system. For instance, some schools accept only students with high GPAs. Applicants to U.S. universities must submit their SAT or ACT scores, for which an institution alsomight impose minimum standards.
The portion of applicants accepted by a university varies widely in the United States, from less than 10 percent to near 100 percent. Admission staff sometimes waive some of the academic criteria for students who demonstrate financial need, athletic prowess, or other characteristics. A person of color may be accepted in part because a university is striving to meet student-diversity goals.
Students and their parents are advised to begin their university searches as early as the junior year in high school. They need to set their priorities, research potential institutions, and be sure to meet application deadlines. Understanding universities’ admission criteria is essential, especially when schools in the United States as well as Canada are being considered.
Parenting Tips for the College Years
As the parent of a college-bound student, you are in a transition period. Big changes are happening in your as well as child’s life. It is an exciting, yet anxious, time for everyone. To deal with the challenges and provide support for your young scholar, consider these parenting tips for the college years.
Start Planning Early
In a student’s junior year, families generally begin talking about which college to choose. This is a lengthy process, involving an assessment of the student’s needs and research about potential schools. A college’s size, location, cost, programs, and other factors should be considered.
Don’t waste your time with a school if its admission qualifications, like grade-point averages and test scores, are beyond your child’s reach. Study college guidebooks and research school rankings. Once you have narrowed the list of possible schools to fewer than five, schedule campus visits and interviews.
Take advantage of admission office advisers, and consider hiring a private counselor trained in the college-application process. The deadline to apply for a fall semester is often Jan. 1, though some schools make their decisions as early as the previous fall. Make sure your child keeps track of these deadlines.
You also can be of assistance in helping to compile the materials that colleges require of applicants. These things include high school transcripts, essays, and various high school records. Most colleges accept a form known as the “common application,” which is available online.
When a child moves away from home, it is an emotional experience for everyone involved. Your feelings may be all over the place, from joy to sadness. You are happy and excited for your child, but also sense the “empty-nest syndrome.”
Be open about these feelings with your son or daughter, and discuss his or her anxieties. Parents need to understand that kids undergo emotional swings during this time, because they are leaving everything they have known and entering uncharted territory. Be sensitive to how this experience can be thrilling and terrifying for a young person.
Prepare Your Child
Upon arriving on campus, a college freshman suddenly has many new responsibilities. In addition to academic and social challenges, there are things that students must do for themselves for the first time.
They have to handle money, and learn how to budget wisely. If your kid has never done a budget, provide some instruction. The danger of overusing credit cards also should be discussed.
Talk about the classes for which your son or daughter has registered. Stress the need to set aside time, and find a good place, to study. Help set academic goals that are reasonable and attainable. Keep in mind that many students struggle with their grades during the first semester, or even the entire freshman year, until they become adjusted to college life.
Provide some practical advice, as well. Even if you have purchased roadside-assistance insurance for your child, make sure to also teach him or her how to change a tire and jump-start a vehicle. Make sure your kid knows how to do laundry, shop for food, and keep a room clean.
Encourage healthy eating habits, while understanding that burgers and pizzas are part of the college experience. Have a talk about alcohol, other drugs, and sex. Your child can benefit from your knowledge and experience.
Let Go While Being Supportive
One of the most difficult challenges for parents of college students is supporting their children, while allowing them to live on their own and become adults. You need to find a balance.
Communicate regularly, but don’t expect to know everything about your child’s new life. You are likely to meet resistance if you pry too much. Experts suggest asking general questions, like “how are your classes” and “are you having fun.” Focus on academics, and your kid’s emotional and physical health. Stay positive and give encouragement, emphasizing strengths and accomplishments. Don’t do all the talking; try to get your child to open up about experiences and feelings.
Most college students freak out at some point. They suffer from anxiety about tests, have tumultuous personal relationships, and become homesick. You might get some frantic emails and phone calls. When that happens, be a good listener and respond with calm reassurance. Help your child deal with problems by breaking them down into simple steps and approaching them logically.
You may feel the urge to call or email your newly departed offspring every day. Resist this impulse, though it is a natural result of the feelings you are having. In addition to a sense of loss, you are worried about how your child is doing out there in the world all alone. You should visit the campus, to provide support, see how your kid is living, and meet the roommate. However, don’t do this too often; and refrain from making surprise visits.
Instead of showing up unannounced, send surprise packages. Cash is always appreciated. You also can mail little things that your kid might not think to buy. Experts recommend toiletries and school supplies. Include a letter about what’s happening with the family, or at least a short note of encouragement.
Stress and anxiety, for you and your son or daughter, are to be expected during the college years. You are entering a new period of your family’s life, which may entail excitement and melancholy for you as a parent. Following some of these suggestions may help you get through it all.
Looking forward to pursuing your academic education from London, UK? Confused about the mountainous piles of options available to you? If you are hoping to get into one of the top universities in London, here is what you need to be careful about.
Most London universities will conduct their admission routines in September and October. Only a small slice of these would also be conducting these admission sessions in January and February. Make sure you research thoroughly about your university so you don’t end up missing out on its deadlines. There are over 40 accredited higher education institutions to choose from. Evaluate your odds carefully before making your selection.
Besides this, also keep in mind that most institutes will allow you to send in one application per year. So you have one opportunity to make it through. Make sure you take adequate time to prepare for the application process so that you can survive against all odds!
In order to apply to top universities in London, it is important for you to have complete control over the English Language. For this reason, most universities will require you to have passed the IELTS test or the TOEFL test or both. As far as IELTS is concerned, you need a score of at least 6.5 to apply for undergraduate courses and about 7.0 to apply for postgraduate courses. Likewise for TOEFL, you need a minimum score of 80 for undergraduate studies and 90 for post graduate ones. Alternatively, you will need to provide other evidence that substantiates your fluency in English.
It is a good idea to prepare all your documents well before time to make sure you don’t miss out on your admission opportunities. In addition to the IELTS, TOEFL and/or GMAT scores, you will need to have academic transcripts of your most recent academic achievement. Besides this, most London universities will ask for references from your previous educational institute. If you have any work experience that you would like to have considered during your admission phase, make sure you are able to provide reference letters from your employer as well. This helps build your credibility in the eyes of the admission officer.
Besides this, most top universities in London will also ask for a Statement of Purpose. This is the only document where you can truly flourish your skills. Plan this document carefully. Additionally, have it scrutinized and assessed by your teachers and mentors to further bridge any gaps or weaknesses. This is where the admission officer will get to know you besides your academic achievement. In most cases, this is what will define whether your application will be considered for further processing or rejected immediately!
London as a whole is an expensive city. This includes your academic expenses, cost of lodging, cost of travel, and so on and so forth. Make sure you’ve researched about your alternatives properly and that you have adequate resources to get you through the course you are planning to pursue. If you are hoping to support yourself through part-time employment, make sure you check in with the university policies beforehand in order to prevent mishaps!
College Admission Essays – What Are They Looking For?
The college admission essay proves to be the trickiest aspect of the college admission process. It is the only section where you can truly unleash your creative instincts. However, it is also the part that can get you into the college of your choice or leave you baffled about your rejection. It is therefore an extremely important part of the application process that defines your destiny. So how should you go about penning your essay?
The best approach is to give the selection committee what it is looking for. Here are a few pointers that can help you structure your essay for a sure winner.
What is the College Selection Committee looking for?
To cut the long and painful story short, they are looking for an insight into your personality, character and goals. This is the section where open ended questions are asked with the intention to gauge your maturity and intellect besides academics. This is the part where you talk about those aspects of your life that have not been covered elsewhere in the application form!
The best essays are known to be styled as excerpts – specific incidents from your life that brought about a major change in you or other similar noteworthy instances from your life. The reader of your essay has no personal experience with you and is looking to learn about you only through your essay. Your word choices, content and writing style reflects your true personality and character – more so than you can imagine! A well-documented logical explanation that links a specific incident to your character traits can go a long way in building a promising picture of you in the minds of your readers.
The essay serves as a tool to estimate your depth and broadmindedness as a person. It is the only piece of paper that represents the real you and sets you apart from your competition. In the mountainous piles of applications, there may be people sharing similar or higher qualifications than you. A well-constructed essay can give you the upper edge you deserve. So use it well!
What the College Selection Committee is NOT looking for?
Talking about oneself is not a problem. However, it is easy for you to lose track while doing so. Here are a few pointers you should keep in mind in order to limit the scope of your essay for maximum impact.
- They are not looking for information that is irrelevant or have not been asked. For instance, praising the college will not help in building your image as the reader already knows it!
- They do not want repeated information. The academics section is sufficient enough to reflect your performance thereof.
- They are not looking for longwinded complex answers that often do not seem to make sense. So you need to be simple and straightforward while answering and also keep your thesaurus at bay!
- They are not looking for a jumbled up account of your life that has no direction. So stick with one or two incidents and try to avoid overdoing the self-expression.
- They are not looking for an essay that seems to have been written by a fifth grader. So read and proofread your essay a couple of times to remove all spelling, typographical and grammatical errors.
- They are not looking for an essay that is painful to read. Rather, they are looking for something that touches their hearts and makes an impact that compels them to select you. So let your creativity flow and win you their decision.
How to choose a university
Deciding where to go to college is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. How to choose a university entails a number of considerations. You want to find the college that best meets you priorities, in terms of academics, facilities, policies and other factors. Of course, your budget will play a significant role. Selecting the university that is the right match for you can result in a rewarding career. On the other hand, if you go to a school that does not meet your needs and inspire you to learn, you might get discouraged and drop out before earning a degree.
Begin by compiling a list of colleges in your area, as well as those elsewhere that you want to consider. If you are looking for a school close to home, your list will be shorter. You can save a lot of money by commuting to classes from your family home. However, many consider getting away from home part of the college experience. Staying in a a dorm involves living with different people, managing your money, and providing for yourself in terms of meals and other needs. You have to make choices and decisions not faced while living at home. The life skills you attain may be as valuable as the academic lessons.
Decide whether you want to consider small colleges, large universities or both. A college in a little town may offer smaller class sizes and a more personal environment. Major universities have more classes, facilities and activities.
Research which universities offer degree programs in the field that you plan to study. Consult the various college-rating schemes to see how the institutions on your list rank. Learn their tuition rates, fees, and cost of room of board. This step will likely eliminate some of the candidates. However, a seemingly expensive school may fit in your budget if it offers scholarships or other types of financial aid for which you are eligible.
Find out colleges’ requirements regarding ACT and SAT scores, to make sure you qualify. Consider class sizes and the faculty’s qualifications. If you are physically disabled, struggle with a learning disorder, or have emotional or social problems, see which schools offer the facilities and policies you require. Check out extracurricular activities. Some colleges feature an array of recreational facilities for students, while many offer clubs and programs for the arts and other interests. Academics are just part of the college experience. Make sure the school you choose provides enriching opportunities outside the classroom.
Find out about the academic performance of the students at a college, and the kinds of jobs that graduates have gotten in your field of interest. Learn about schools’ teaching methods, which may be traditional or alternative. You also may be interested in policies regarding grading, safety and campus security, discipline and other matters.
Don’t pay a lot of attention to a school’s reputation, whether good or bad. A college may not be right for you, even if it is considered prestigious. A bad reputation may be unfounded or misleading. Take with a grain of salt any advice offered by friends or family members. They may be basing their opinions on limited personal experience or anecdotal evidence. Find out for yourself.
Reading the information that colleges send you does not provide the whole picture. They spend a lot of money to produce slick brochures and other materials designed to entice you. View their publications and websites as critically as you would a television commercial.
Once you have reduced your list to a few colleges, start scheduling campus visits. Meet administrators and professors, and talk informally with students. Tour the classrooms, library, cafeteria, student-activities areas, dormitories and other facilities. Make sure the information technology is up-to-date. Sit in on some classes to get a feel for what it would be like to attend the college. Try to determine whether it is a place where you will feel secure, happy and eager to learn. Get a sense of the social and political climate on campus. It’s a good idea to take friends or family members with you on the tour, so you can benefit from their perspectives.
Knowing how to choose a university is a complex matter. There are myriad factors to ponder, based on your needs and budget. Start your search early, with an eye on colleges’ deadlines for admissions and student-housing applications.
You will need to set your priorities, because some compromises are inevitable. If you accurately assess your requirements, and thoroughly consider the universities that fit the bill, you have a good chance of finding the right place for a rewarding post-secondary learning experience.
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