It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard this, but choosing a college is a huge decision. It’s where you’ll spend the next several years; the courses you take will pave the way toward your career; and the people around you will become classmates, colleagues, and friends. As you leave high school and prepare for the future, “you’ll want to surround yourself with likeminded individuals,” says Shaun Moore, an admissions representative at Full Sail University. So, how do you find your tribe? How do you know which college will set you up for success?
Think about your career goals, says college and career coach Bob Roth, in a story for US News & World Report. Roth suggests researching if a college has a robust career services or career development department, and if that department provides job fairs and on-campus interview opportunities. “Many colleges have networking groups online,” adds Moore. You can check those out for insight into what students and grads are up to.
Find out if a school ranks well in your preferred field of study, and then visit the college to get a glimpse of what’s happening inside the classroom, lab, or studio. “Figure out what type of learner you are,” says Moore. “Some schools offer a more hands-on environment, while others may be more traditional.”
Know that there are other factors that matter beyond the classroom: You may want a school with a strong athletics program. Or you may want to go somewhere smaller, with a more close-knit campus life. You may not like cold weather and want to be somewhere where the winters aren’t rough. You may want to stay close to home – or go far away. Making a simple pros and cons list can help weigh some or all these factors, says Roth for US News & World Report.
Everybody has different priorities and goals – thinking about the above factors can help when making a decision, but don’t be afraid to seek out the advice of admissions and career counselors too. They can help answer any other questions you may have.