In a previous post, the reasons why you should go to college were discussed. Now that you know you want to go to college, how do you pick where to go? Do you stay close to home? Do you want to leave the nest and venture out on your own? Do you want the big college campus experiences or smaller classroom sizes? This is your future and you get to decide what you want it to be, but do you know all of your choices? Here are a few things you need to consider when applying to college.
You have to make an adult decision on what you will be able to afford once you are on your own. We would be over the moon happy if you are accepted to an Ivy league or top school, but can you afford the tuition? Tuition is the yearly cost for your classes, and it varies drastically between universities. When comparing schools, always consider your state's universities because you will pay a lower "in-state" tuition than "out-of-state" tuition. In most cases, you will always pay more if you move to a different state. That doesn't mean you can't move away. It just means you should be aware of the cost difference. Unfortunately, too many students are relying on loans to help them go to their dream schools. A bachelor's degree from Harvard is the same as a bachelor's degree from a state school. You can always apply for scholarships and financial aid to help pay for tuition and books, but sometimes those only go so far. Talk with your parents, school counselor, and even the university to help give you enough information to make a good decision for your future.
Even if you aren't 100% certain on what you would like to study, you'll want to browse through a university's catalog to make sure it will have something you could be interested in. Having a variety of entry level classes will help you figure out what you see yourself doing as a job. If you do know what you want to do, you should still check with the university about a program's requirements and acceptance rate. You've probably heard that you can get your generals or Associate's degree anywhere and then transfer. Transferring schools is not always the easiest thing to do and you could lose class credits by doing so. It would be in your benefit to choose a school with plenty of programs available and a higher acceptance rates into those programs. If you know that you will need to continue your education further by earning a Master's degree or PhD, you can research where those programs are available. Sometimes you will be able to earn the degrees from the same school or certain universities will cooperate together for you to go from one to the other easily. Strive to find the path of least resistance so there are less obstacles in your way from reaching your degree.
Cost of living
You might be required to live on campus for your first semester or year of college, but you will have other essentials you'll need to buy such as bedding, storage, and of course food. While living on campus you can look into getting a meal plan. Meal plans are like debit cards you use to buy food on campus and are very helpful if you don't have a kitchen or don't care to cook. Once you live off campus, your cost of housing, groceries, fuel, and other necessities will increase. Will you have a car? Is there public transportation available? Similar to tuition, if you are accepted into a school located in a large metropolis city, are you willing to afford it? A smart way to help with these expenses is to find good, reliable roommates. Be choosy with who you want to live with because you will be responsible for any damages or cleaning fees.
Some college towns hesitate to hire students because they are temporary. Bigger cities will have better and more job opportunities, but as mentioned above, the cost of living will be higher. You should also look into internship programs between a city's university and companies. This will help you academically and professionally. The ideal situation is for you to graduate and have a job already lined up. If the job is in the town you've been living in the past four years, it couldn't get any better than that.
We want you to have as much information as possible so you can make a sound decision on where to go to college. If you want to go to Harvard, Yale, UCLA, or any other top school, work hard towards it, and we can help you get there. This is your future. You decide what it will be.