Page 12 - USA Today College Guide 2019
P. 12

Shopping for Schools
Factors to to Consider When Choosing a a College
BY MELANIE SCHWED SPECIAL TO TO USA TODAY
to think about Harsh Northeast winters may be fun for weekends on the ski slope but can last a a a long time Too much sun on the the other hand can make it tough to to spend time in the library CULTURE
This consideration can be easily overlooked yet is important to many prospective students An institution’s reputation can say a a a a a a lot about factors that may may or may may not appeal to you Are academics the primary focus or is a a a a good balance between work and social life? Is Greek life life the major social scene or is it all about athletics? It’s good to find out if many students leave campus on weekends The right atmosphere and priorities will greatly impact your next four years COST
Cost is a a critical question if not the most critical consideration in determining what school you attend Many of your choices may fall outside the abilities of your family to pay which will mean seeking financial assistance including student loans and scholar- ships It is important that you are
aware of what you you and your family can reasonably take on on on and consider other options as necessary including which school may offer you the most attrac- tive aid package and whether starting your college college career at a a a junior college college might be a good option ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
Once you’ve considered what studies you might like to pursue look for a school that offers a a a strong program in your desired field and then speak with students who have gone through it If you you don’t yet know what you you want to study how will the school help you explore your options? When do you you need to declare a a a major?
Alan Goodwin the recently retired principal at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda Maryland wisely says to remember there is a college suited for every student “There are
thousands of schools out there ” says Goodwin and students don't only have to strive for the big names “Students and families should take a a a a long look at at schools that they may never have considered ” Goodwin says There is a lot of pressure on high school seniors to know themselves well Well enough to decide where in the world or or country they want to live what career path they want to pursue and what kind of environment they want It’s important that students set benchmarks and stick to them ignoring pressure from parents or friends “Define your criteria what’s important to you ” says Den-
nis Reynolds a a a counselor at Walter Johnson High School in Montgomery County Maryland Here are
a a a few factors to to consider when choosing a college SIZE
Do you want to be one in a a a sea of many or or or is it important for you to be recognized as an individual on campus? Size affects what your daily life is like and how the school treats its students A larger university may have more difficulty tracking and meeting all needs and this can mean longer waits to meet with counselors or or teachers
— and and even lines at the cafeteria and and gym You will also want to investigate opportunities for social interaction including dormitories fraternities and sororities or or or other groups that can help you connect LOCATION
Where in the country are
you interested in in in in living? Is going abroad a a a possibility? And would you rather live in a a a smaller more rural environment or or a a big city? Also consider how important it is to be near your family and how much cost and travel time moving away would entail (You will miss them more than you think!) And there is weather
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