How can you choose a perfect college?

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Choosing the right college is undoubtedly one of the most significant decisions every one of us has to make. The college you attend will have a powerful impact on your personal and professional life. So, it’s a no-brainer that students should go to quality colleges. Instead of choosing a random college, you should do a little bit of research and find a college that will be both quality and suitable for you. Reputable colleges will offer great employment opportunities for you in the future.

Considering the significance of this decision, students should think extremely carefully about their choices. The choice may not be obvious for every student, especially if they weren’t accepted into their top 1 choice or face stress because family members make them choose a certain school.

Follow these simple tips to help you make a college decision.

1. Create a shortlist.

You should spend a lot of time analyzing colleges that are open for you to enter. Authors of “The Truth About College Admission: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together,” say that students need to consider such things as location, enrollment size, opportunities outside of the classroom, majors, programs, the people on campus, price, and selectivity when it comes to choosing a college. Consider these criteria and develop a short list of schools you would like to attend.

2. Figure your priorities out.

Dedicate some time to making your college rankings, considering all the pros and cons of a particular college. Don’t ignore your educational and personal needs when deciding where you will spend the next four years of your life. Moreover, you need to be in tune with what you seek for your future. If you don’t have that foundation, it’s nearly impossible to search for a future college.

3. Avoid procrastination.

Even though deadlines vary depending on the institution, applications usually are due by January. Most experts state that students should get started on the application process by the start of their senior year in high school. Spend your free time taking standardized tests, asking for letters of recommendation, and writing essays.

4. Visit schools one more time.

After dealing with applications, it’s high time to think about where you want to attend. Even if you attended initial college tours, take another trip to each college and create a list of 10-15 precise questions. You need to know what questions to ask on a college visit. Meeting with current students is a terrific way to gauge campus culture, as they can show you insight into classroom activities and social experiences for certain majors. Nonetheless, keep in mind that a campus tour can be expensive because of travel costs. In case a campus tour is not an option for you, just look at the campus via a virtual tour and text college students or officials with your questions.

5. Look beyond the initial price tag.

Tuition costs vary depending on the college. U.S. News data for the 2021-2022 school year demonstrates that ranked in-state public colleges are more likely to have the lowest sticker costs at a standard of $10,338, compared with $38,185 at private schools. But take a look at the phrase “sticker costs”. Private colleges are more likely to come with a higher price tag, but there may also be more institutional aid. It means that students and their families may not pay the tuition cost in full.

6. Compare financial aid awards.

You should carefully compare financial aid packages if you want to graduate from college with either little or no debt at all. It’s smart to look past the tuition and find out what additional costs are, like meal plans and housing. You need to clearly understand the differences between free scholarships and loans, which you will have to pay back eventually. Some colleges provide students with financial aid packages meeting full financial needs. It means that students are not required to take out loans.

7. Dig into departments.

Even though college rankings can be a tool in the decision process, academic prestige can be examined on a smaller scale as well. Do some research on the departments you would be studying in. Is this college the best for your major?  Are faculty significantly engaged at school and in the field? Pay college websites a visit and reach out to preferred faculty to gather more information.

8. Analyze job connections.

One of the main reasons to go to college is to set yourself up for a job, so you have to take each school’s career center into account. It’s recommended for students to ask questions about on-campus interview opportunities, the counselor-to-student ratio, and job fairs. Make sure that the resources can give you the help you will need in the future. Career centers often provide students with services such as soft skills development, mock interview conducting, student-alumni connection, etc.

9. Speak to your family.

Many parents have bright memories of their college life, experiences, and educational process. They often want their children to share that same experience, but what is great for a parent can be absolutely devastating for a student. You should create an open dialogue with your parents about what college you should enter. Instead of saying that you chose a certain college because it’s where all your friends are going, be smart and give your parents convincing reasons to attend a particular college you chose.

10. Move on from rejection.

Realizing that you were rejected from college can be tough and sometimes even depressing. Nevertheless, try your best not to dwell on the rejection. The worst scenario will be if you let your disappointment stymie the decision you are yet to make. Some colleges are extremely selective with single-digit acceptance rates. But most colleges have nice overall odds of admission, so don’t be too stressed about it.

11. Discover more about colleges.

Check out the full rankings of the Best Colleges to find the school that’s the most suitable for you, get more advice on the decision-making process, and connect with U.S. News Education on Twitter and Facebook.

So, these were the best tips for your future college selection. Take your time, think about them, and apply them one by one. Soon you will be amazed at how well-managed your thoughts are.