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How Can I Find the Right College?

Finding the right college can be extremely tricky, but it’s essential to do your homework well, as this is the place where you will be studying for two to four years of your life, which is a long time to be miserable. If you choose the right college you will be able to learn more, and will achieve more academically and socially.

The correct college should prepare you for coping with all the challenges adult life will bring, and at the same time you should be able to have a good time and make friends who will support you throughout the rest of your life. There are around 2600 colleges and universities within the United States, and just to confuse matters even further, there are around 2,000 international colleges.

How Can I Start Finding the Right College?

You can start by making a list of the attributes your ideal college would have. The first decision to make is whether you will be attending a two-year college or a four-year college. The next step is to decide whether you will be attending a public or private college, and although public colleges receive funding from state and local governments, and are generally less expensive especially for in-state residents, some private colleges may offer financial assistance through the form of scholarships or grants.

Decide on Size, Setting, and Location

Think about the size of college you would like to attend, and although this may seem a strange, the number of undergraduates enrolled at a college can affect your overall experience. For one thing it may impact the range of majors available to you, and will have a huge bearing on the amount of individual attention you will receive.

The same applies to the setting of the college, as you need to decide whether you would prefer to be in a large city or out of town a little. Perhaps you’d like the best of both worlds.

The next step is to decide which state in which to study. Is it important to you to be close to home? Or do you need to be near to another location? A deciding factor in where to study may well be the cost of tuition and fees, as it’s far more likely to be cheaper to study in your home state. If you find a college you really love that is out-of-state, then you can always try applying for scholarships or grants.

What Do You Want to Study?

Now you need to decide what your major will be in, and can begin to look for a college that offers a course that sounds appealing and interesting. Check and see what reputation the college has for this particular course. Is the institution well regarded by potential employers?

If you are after a particular program or service then now is the time to check that your college offers that program. If you are still satisfied with everything you have learned then you will then need to check that you can apply, as some colleges are extremely selective and admit only a tiny percentage of applicants every year. Other colleges are much more relaxed in their selection process and require just a high school diploma, and accept students on a first-come, first-served basis, but the majority of colleges fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

What Activities are Really Important to You?

Once you have identified a few colleges that sound hopeful you can start to look at them in more depth. Decide which activities and sports are important to you, and investigate the facilities offered for these. You may have your heart set on attending a college with fraternities or sororities, or may be dead set against attending a college that offers these societies.

Where Do You Want to Live?

Housing is another important thing to look into, as you’ll have to decide whether you wish to live on campus, and if this is an affirmative you’ll need to find out if on-campus housing is at least guaranteed for first year students. The type of accommodation is also important, especially if you have special needs. Once you have your final shortlist you can begin visiting the campuses to see if they really are the right college for you.

All this may sound like a lot to consider, but these should be some of the most enjoyable years of your life, and a little extra time spent now will ensure happy memories forever.

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