Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Choosing the Right College for YOU

Finding the right college can be a tangled process. When looking back on college tours, everything seems to be jumbled together and differences between each school often can't be narrowed down.It is helpful to have a set of criteria when beginning your college search. Figure out what is most important to you and then take note of how each school fits that desired mold as you go through the process.

The basic building blocks for choosing the right school are:

  1. Curriculum - You're going to school for the education, right? So when you are searching for schools, look one that offers classes pertaining to your desired major. If you are undecided about what you want to study, a school with a wide-variety of liberal arts programs will be fine. You can take many different classes that narrow your interest.
  2. Location - Are you a home-body or are you eager to move far away? Location is a major factor on college decisions. You can choose anything from commuting to a nearby campus, to moving hours away. Keep in mind that no matter what school you choose, there is a possibility that you may become homesick. Don't worry! This happens to just about everyone. Get involved, make friends, decorate your room, and do whatever else will make your campus feel like a home away from home. 
  3. Size - Terrified of feeling like a little fish in a gigantic ocean? A big school may not be for you. Keep in mind the number of people who attend each school that you are looking at because that number can really contribute to your college experience. Also remember that no matter what school you choose, class sizes will get smaller and smaller the further you are along, so don't let huge lecture halls deter you from choosing the school you want!
  4. Cost - Tuition isn't the only cost to think about when choosing your school. Financial aid and scholarship is also important. A school with a higher tuition may offer more financial aid and scholarships than a school with a lower tuition. Look at what the average student pays after these factors have been weighed in and base your decision off of that final number.
  5. Culture - Culture is something that people often don't weigh into their decision, however it can be the most important aspect of a college experience. Sometimes an average campus visit can't give you a feel for the true culture of a school. If you know someone who attends a particular school, ask if you can stay with them for a day. Hanging out on campus in a casual setting can give you a better feel for what the school and the students are really like.
Have more questions about the college search process or just need advice? Feel free to ask either through the OU Upward Bound Facebook or email jenkins.emma.may@gmail.com.

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