How to choose, how to choose....and what a menu to consider!
As we said before, this country is an absolute luau of delicious educational dishes--
we mean colleges!
Please choose five to eight schools once you consider our menu of choices.
In choosing schools you want to apply to, you will want two schools you would be thrilled to go to if only they would let you in (reach schools), three or four schools you would love to go to, and one or two schools you would like to go to and where you think you have a fantastic chance of being accepted (safety net schools).
GeographyDo you want to be in a small school where you know your professors or a big one where there are literally tens of
thousands of people?
Do you want to experience the country or the city, a small town or one of the great American cities?
Do you want to go to class on cross-country skis or with your dive gear?
Do you want to see New England Fall color or taste Louisiana gumbo or listen to Chicago jazz or watch the fog
tumble over the San Francisco skyline?
You can consider factors such as size of school, part of the country, a setting that is rural or urban or suburban, and even what recreational activities interest you in making your school choices.
PrestigeDo you want to go to graduate school or have a career in education?
If you do, you may want to aim for admittance to a prestigious college, especially one known to have a strong program and possibly even a respected graduate program in your field. Educators and employers believe, whether true or not, that prestige equals program excellence. Graduate schools and many bosses will care. The prestige of the school you graduate from will not make or break your future but it can make things easier. In addition, remember that you will not only be making friends in college but you will be making contacts: friends, professors, even administrators. These contacts form the beginnings of your professional network and can make a big difference for your future career.
How can you measure a school's prestige? Well, have you ever heard of it?! Or, there are folks who make a living evaluating best schools! (That link is just an example. There are lots of these sorts of rankings and college comparison sites.)
Academic StrengthsDo you want to study art or engineering, computer science or business?
One thing you will want to consider is whether a school has a strong program in the area or areas you want to study. If you don't know what you want to study quite yet, consider whether they have cool overseas programs or good support for students having academic difficulties. Online sites will give you this kind of information on a school as well as helping you search for schools that meet all of the menu options noted here. (Again, that link is just an example.)
CostThere are need-blind schools that meet your full demonstrated financial need.
And there are schools--the acronym is WUE, pronounced wooey, like hooey, like dew-y--that have an agreement to offer each other in-state tuition even if you do not reside in their state! (Note that with this program, the early bird does get the worm--we mean, there are limited spaces.)
By the way, here are some more college search sites that look interesting:
For campus life...
For a truly thorough search, check out the U.S. Department of Education's College Navigator, and be sure to consider the info you can get with the More Search Options option!
You can also use these sites to consider factors such as support for your religious faith, toleration of differences such as sexual orientation, best financial aid...or are known for partying (sorry, English teacher here: bad! Avoid 'em!)
The Bridge: Kaua’i to College, 8/2016