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How do you choose a good college?

Nicholas Rivera

in Student Loans

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Curtis Rhodes on April 12, 2019

  1. Never make your final college selection without visiting at least your top two or three options. No matter how well you think you know of a college or university, you can learn a lot (good or bad) by spending a couple of hours on the campus, including whether or not the college feels like a good "fit" for you. Having family members accompany you on college visits is a great idea, as it gives you extra "eyes and ears", and the people with whom you can discuss your impressions.
  2. There are No exceptions to rule #1.
  3. A university is not necessarily right for you, because your name is familiar. This may seem fairly obvious, but you would not believe how many students equate quality of education with the recognition of the name.
  4. Investigate at least three or four colleges you know little or nothing about but offer the field(s) of study of interest to you, are appropriately selective for a students with your grades and SAT or ACT scores, and are located in geographic areas attractive to you. You have nothing to lose and can make a great discovery. A little research and an open mind can greatly increase the odds that you make a good college choice.
  5. There are very few worse reasons to select a college than because your friends are going there. Choosing a college because your girlfriend or boyfriend is headed there is one of them. In fact, if there is a worse reason to choose a college, it escapes us.
  6. Investigate, investigate, investigate, and make sure to separate the reality of the (often baseless) opinions. Many people refer to a college as "good", "difficult to access", "a party school", "too expensive", etc, without really knowing the facts. Do not accept this type of generalizations without evidence.
  7. Do not rule out colleges early because of cost. Many colleges offer scholarships, financial aid, and tuition payment plans that make it much more affordable than it may seem at first glance. You can not/it is not known how much will be the cost of attending a university, until the end of the process.
  8. Deadlines, whether for college applications, SAT or ACT registration, financial aid, scholarships, campus housing, etc., are not suggestions. Miss a deadline and you can find yourself in deep you-know-what. Write down on a calendar and adhere strictly to all deadlines.
  9. Do not be afraid to apply to a couple "reach schools". You may be pleasantly surprised by the results if you are not totally unreal. Then apply at least three institutions of higher education, as they are very likely to admit. Remember, choose these three colleges very carefully as they are the places where it is likely that the majority of wind. Finally, choose at least two "safety" colleges. Universities to which you are practically sure that you are going to be admitted. The choice of "safety" schools that you do not like is a mistake that many students make. If you take the time to choose safety schools you would be happy to attend, you'll be able to eliminate all of the anxiety some students experience in the college application and admission process.
  10. When is the time to make your final choice, discuss your options with your family, your counselor (if you have one), and others who know you well and whose judgment of value. If you have a hard time choosing between two or more colleges or universities, it is probably because you have done a good job in developing your list and you will be happy in what the institution that you choose. Once you make your choice, don't agonize over it. If you follow these rules, there is an excellent chance your final college choice will be a good one.
  1. Never make your final college selection without visiting at least your top two or three options. No matter how well you think you know of a college or university, you can learn a lot (good or bad) by spending a couple of hours on the campus, including whether or not the college feels like a good "fit" for you. Having family members accompany you on college visits is a great idea, as it gives you extra "eyes and ears", and the people with whom you can discuss your impressions.
  2. There are No exceptions to rule #1.
  3. A university is not necessarily right for you, because your name is familiar. This may seem fairly obvious, but you would not believe how many students equate quality of education with the recognition of the name.
  4. Investigate at least three or four colleges you know little or nothing about but offer the field(s) of study of interest to you, are appropriately selective for a students with your grades and SAT or ACT scores, and are located in geographic areas attractive to you. You have nothing to lose and can make a great discovery. A little research and an open mind can greatly increase the odds that you make a good college choice.
  5. There are very few worse reasons to select a college than because your friends are going there. Choosing a college because your girlfriend or boyfriend is headed there is one of them. In fact, if there is a worse reason to choose a college, it escapes us.
  6. Investigate, investigate, investigate, and make sure to separate the reality of the (often baseless) opinions. Many people refer to a college as "good", "difficult to access", "a party school", "too expensive", etc, without really knowing the facts. Do not accept this type of generalizations without evidence.
  7. Do not rule out colleges early because of cost. Many colleges offer scholarships, financial aid, and tuition payment plans that make it much more affordable than it may seem at first glance. You can not/it is not known how much will be the cost of attending a university, until the end of the process.
  8. Deadlines, whether for college applications, SAT or ACT registration, financial aid, scholarships, campus housing, etc., are not suggestions. Miss a deadline and you can find yourself in deep you-know-what. Write down on a calendar and adhere strictly to all deadlines.
  9. Do not be afraid to apply to a couple "reach schools". You may be pleasantly surprised by the results if you are not totally unreal. Then apply at least three institutions of higher education, as they are very likely to admit. Remember, choose these three colleges very carefully as they are the places where it is likely that the majority of wind. Finally, choose at least two "safety" colleges. Universities to which you are practically sure that you are going to be admitted. The choice of "safety" schools that you do not like is a mistake that many students make. If you take the time to choose safety schools you would be happy to attend, you'll be able to eliminate all of the anxiety some students experience in the college application and admission process.
  10. When is the time to make your final choice, discuss your options with your family, your counselor (if you have one), and others who know you well and whose judgment of value. If you have a hard time choosing between two or more colleges or universities, it is probably because you have done a good job in developing your list and you will be happy in what the institution that you choose. Once you make your choice, don't agonize over it. If you follow these rules, there is an excellent chance your final college choice will be a good one.


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