Ten Rules to Guarantee a Good College Choice

in College
It really isn't hard to choose the right college. Just follow these ten rules.

1. Don't even think about making a final college choice without visiting at least your top two choices...more if possible. Visits are the only reliable way to learn about the campus environments of the colleges you are considering and how good a "fit" you might be. And bring your parents along if you can...you might find their impressions helpful.

2. There are no exceptions to rule #1.

3. A college is not necessarily right for you because its name is familiar. That seems pretty obvious, but you wouldn't believe how many students equate educational quality with name recognition.

4. Take the extra step of identifying and investigating at least three colleges you know almost nothing about but offer the major in which you are interested, are in locations you like, and have admissions criteria which make you a good candidate. You might be very pleasantly surprised at what you find.

5. Choosing a college because your friends are or will be attending is just plain stupid. Choosing a college because your boyfriend/girlfriend is or will be attending is even dumber.

6. College-bound students often get lots of input from well meaning family and friends. Unfortunately, much of it is inaccurate. Be careful when folks categorize a college as "too expensive", "impossible to get into", "a party school", "a top liberal arts school", etc. There is a lot of misinformation out there, and people often mindlessly pass on what they hear. Find out for yourself what is true and what isn't, and beware of people who oversimplify and over generalize.

7. In the beginning of your search, do not worry about cost. The fact is, you won't know what a college might cost you until you find out what kinds of financial aid, if any, you might be offered. So, whatever you do, do not rule out colleges because of their cost in the initial stages of your search. And, be aware that some colleges pledge to meet the full financial need of all of their students.

8. You may have to contend with ACT deadlines, SAT deadlines, scholarship deadlines, financial aid deadlines, and college application deadlines. Close your eyes for thirty seconds and imagine how stupid you will feel if you fail to get into a college or get money for which you qualify because you miss a deadline. Then, to avoid feeling stupid, write down all operative deadlines and check them often.

9. Don't be afraid to apply to a few "reach schools"you might be pleasantly surprised by the results if you are not entirely unrealistic. Apply to at least three colleges you like which are likely to admit you. Remember, choose these three colleges very carefully as they are the places you are mostly likely to wind up at. And, choose at least two "safety" collegescolleges to which you are virtually certain you will be admitted. Choosing "safety" schools they don't really like is a mistake many students maketake the time to choose safety schools you would be happy to attend.

10. When it is time to make your final choice, discuss your options with your family, your counselor (if you have one), and others who know you well and whose judgement you value. If you have a tough time choosing among two or more colleges or universities it is probably because you have done a good job putting together your list and you will be happy at whichever institution you choose. Just make your choice and don't agonize over itsome of the best years of your life are ready to begin.
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Daniel Kane has 1 articles online

Daniel Kane has worked in high schools, colleges, and universities for more than thirty years. He has websites on subjects including online degree programs and online colleges .
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Ten Rules to Guarantee a Good College Choice

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This article was published on 2007/07/25