Choosing the right college can mean the difference between loving your undergraduate years and just try to get through them. You’re likely to attend your college for four years, which is a long time to stay in one place, so it’s important to try and choose the place that’s right for you. Here are some tips to help you choose a great college.
- See where your grades will take you
You may already have a couple of colleges in mind, but it’s important not to get your heart set on a place unless you have a good chance of getting in. To start, you should look at how many people are accepted to the colleges you like by, for example, searching for the UCR acceptance rate on CampusReel. This will show you how competitive the school is in general, as well as the average grades of other applicants.
There are also tools online that show you which colleges might be suitable for candidates with your grades. This can be useful for those who have lower grades or are looking for safety schools that have a high acceptance rate.
- Decide whether to stay local or go out of state
If you need to stay local, this can narrow down your choices quite a bit.
Staying local will often mean going to a less prestigious college, or settling for a slightly different subject, but there are advantages:
- In-state tuition is usually cheaper
- You could live at home and save money on living costs
- If your grades improve, you could consider transferring to a better college after two years
- You don’t have to move to a strange town
Local or community colleges can be a good way to start your educational journey and can lead to many different paths.
- Choose your degree for the right reasons
Many people choose a degree subject because they think it’ll earn them lots of money when they graduate, while others simply choose a subject they love without thinking about the career prospects at the end of their studies. However, when it comes to choosing the right major, you should try to strike a balance. Ideally, pick something that you enjoy, as you have years of studying ahead, but something that could also lead you on a good career path in the future.
You should also think about your strengths and weaknesses. If you really struggle with certain subjects, it’s worth asking yourself whether you could keep up in college-level courses. It is better to do a subject that comes to you naturally.
- Consider your future prospects
With student debt on the rise and an uncertain job market, it’s no surprise that people want to know whether their hard work will lead to a good career. It’s worth checking out employability rankings for your college and finding out what percentage of graduates go into graduate-level jobs. Many colleges have alumni associations that will help you learn what routes previous grads have taken and give career advice.
Picking a college is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make in life. Start looking early and do thorough research, so you can be sure you have a great college experience.