Building Your College List: College Research
When colleges send you their glossy brochures with beautiful pictures, you may find the urge to apply. WAIT! Don’t just apply to the school because it has name value or pretty buildings, make sure you diligently research the college. College research is one of the most important parts of the application process. Here are some tips to guide you on compiling a good college list.
Major of Interest
Every college offers a myriad of different majors and minors. However, if you are interested in a niche subject, many colleges might not offer the major.
Let’s say you are interested in pursuing a marine biology undergraduate degree. Since Boston University offers a Marine Science degree and Boston College only offers a Biology degree, you should consider Boston University over Boston College.
If the college does not offer the major of your choice, however you still wish to apply, see if they offer concentrations that align with your interests. For example, you might want to pursue the Biology major with an emphasis on Marine Biology at Occidental College.
Majors, minors, and concentrations are very important when researching for colleges; make sure this is also your top priority.
Campus Atmosphere and Advising
The school should also match your college needs. If you want a school in a suburban area with a hands-on advising department, chances are Pennsylvania State University might not be a good fit for you and your needs. If the school is large, usually the advising department is stretched thin, and you will not receive the level of care you would receive at a school with a smaller faculty to student ratio.
The location of the school is also very important! After all, you will be living there for four years! If you cannot imagine yourself acclimating to the location, do not add the college to your list!
The college you will attend is where you will make most of your connections. These connections are vital when you enter the job market. If you are interested in business or economics, it might be a great idea to move to a new and larger metropolitan area!
Make sure to do your research on the types of college and their alumni network! This will be vital when you are entering the job market.
The student organizations should also influence your decision on whether you should apply to a certain school. You will be making most of your friends through joining clubs.
If you were an avid ballet dancer in high school, research if there is a student organization for ballet. This will be one of your main sources of meeting new acquaintances and the possibility of life-long friendships! (I am speaking from personal experience, I met by best friends through a club at my university)
Build Your College List
Hopefully, this helps with guiding the rest of your college research. Remember, just because one college appears to be a good fit for your friend, does not mean it is a good fit for you. Make sure that you take the time and consider all of these factors when compiling a strong college list that matches your needs and interests.
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