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8 Rules for Selecting a College

 

By Dr. Stephen Jones

During the senior year parents engage in the annual ritual and conversation about selecting a college. Today college cost is frequently at the top of the list of issues that parent’s must confront. Even today money should not be the only reason that you select a college for your student. Your student’s ability to live within the philosophy of a college can make a big difference in their success. Sure colleges can put up an advertisement and send you a mailing every week but there is nothing like visiting a campus and talking to the faculty and students who’ve made a commitment to a particular college. The truth is there are over 6,000 colleges that a student can select from and all change in size and mission. Some colleges are owned by your state, some private and others are community colleges.

There are eight rules that will help you to select a college that fits your needs. There are some simple rules that you can follow to reduce your stress. These practices will help you to make a reasonable decision about the top colleges that you select. Here are the 8 rules:

1. When you go on a college tour always arrange a meeting with a faculty member and student.

2. Always talk to the financial aid office after you have received their financial aid package.

3. Attend a classroom lecture to get a sense of the class sizes.

4. Check out what students are saying about the college on the internet.

5. Ask if advising is mandatory or voluntary. Advisors can be a critical part of a student’s success.

6. Ask if their professors teach classes or mostly teaching assistants.

7. Ask how many students from your high school have attended the college. It could be a sign that your former classmates really liked the college.

8. Take several friends with you and go on a campus tour together. Sometimes it is good to get more than one perspective on the college you are visiting.

It is never too early to start your college search process. Colleges are putting out all kinds of information every day. You can go on some college websites and download videos and podcasts about the college. Some colleges also offer website recordings of several aspects of the college. Some colleges even offer a virtual tour of their campus.

 

You should find ways to creatively engage in conversations with their students and alumni. You want to know how happy they are about their college experience. It’s even better when you can talk with students who are in a particular major. They can share their success and also talk about their challenges with their major. The beauty of a campus is not the only thing to consider. You want your son/daughter to have an enjoyable experience. Take the time to compare the colleges you have selected and what they offer.

Another thing that you can do is pick up a few books that the faculty has written. These writings will reveal their opinions and thoughts. It is a great way to know if the faculty is keeping up with current trends. Get started to day and you will have an easier time making a college decision that you won’t regret.

Dr. Stephen Jones is a nationally recognized author who has written the “Seven Secrets of How to Study.” “Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide,” and the Ultimate Scholarship Guide.  Get these books for your home right away.  You can contact him at 610-842-3843 and at stephenjoness@rcn.com or visit http://www.DrStephenJones.net.