College acceptance letters are arriving, and now the ball’s in your court. Some of you may already have decided on your first choice and gotten accepted. Congratulations! However, some of you may have been accepted to multiple schools and have yet to decide where you will enroll. If this is your situation, then this post is for you.
There are many factors to consider when deciding on your school – rank, prestige, location, cost, academic programs, social life, and many more. Every school will tout its own strengths in the marketing brochures they’ve surely sent to you. So where can you turn for legitimate feedback and unbiased reviews?
One website is Niche’s 2019 Best Colleges in America, where you can find honest reviews from students, neatly divided into different categories ranging from Academics to Social Scene. This will give you a nice feel for the school in general, but there may be other factors to consider when choosing where you’ll spend the next four years of your life.
When you applied to college, you may have declared a major. While you definitely have the option of changing your major later on down the line, some of you may already have a clear idea of your career goals. If that sounds like you, take a moment to consider which school has the best undergraduate program for your major. If, for example, you are dead set on pursuing a law degree, then the school with the strongest pre-law program may be the best choice for you. CollegeXpress is a good resource that makes it easy to explore which schools have good programs in different majors. It’s important to remember, however, that there is no definitive list of best schools for any program, and while many experts agree on the top schools, “best of” lists are, by their very nature, subjective.
Another resource that has a summary of schools and their strengths would be the Fiske Guide to Colleges. This book has information on over 320 colleges and universities throughout the United States and also includes other details such as male/female ratio, percent of students who graduate within six years, and much more.
Now that you’ve gotten a good grasp of what you like and dislike about your potential universities, it’s a good idea to take a look at some other factors. While some of you may be lucky to have either a college fund or parents who can afford full tuition, the reality is that student debt from undergraduate and graduate school is on the rise. In fact, student loan balances have more than doubled since 2009, from about 675 billion to over 1.4 trillion today. When making a decision between colleges, it is important to compare financial aid packages and think carefully about future debt.
When the cost of university is a major factor, there are some options to consider – there are a plethora of scholarships out there for the taking. In fact, LA tutors offers a monthly $500 scholarship called Innovation in Education to students who demonstrate exceptional innovation and creativity. You can also search for scholarships on popular search engines such as FastWeb or Scholarships.com. Another option would be to look for interest-free loans provided by non-profit organizations such as the Jewish Free Loan Association.
With so many factors to consider, the best advice is to focus on what’s important to you about your future school. Take your time and consider all your options carefully. Write down the things that are important to you about each school; sometimes simply organizing your thoughts on paper can help clarify which university is the best choice for you. Lastly, if you have the time, going to visit the campuses in person can also help provide insight as to whether the school is the right “fit” for you.
Best of luck and congratulations Class of 2019!