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Selecting A School - What To Take Into Consideration

Oct 9, 2007
Selecting a college has always been a very big decision for students evaluating their options. Today there are even more choices than ever and some dangers along the way. Not only are students faced with choices of the traditional classroom, but also the virtual campuses that have became a popular contender over the past several years. There are several factors involved in choosing the correct school and much of the decision is based on academic performance. For some lucky students that have achieved greatly the acceptance letters will be stacked up before they ever walk their high school graduation stage, but for the rest, they are faced with walking the tight rope of deciding which college.

College Entrance Testing

All colleges have guidelines for acceptance to the University and then many of the departments have other requirements. When applying to a university it is important to understand that most colleges require a college entrance examination such as the ACT or SAT with a passing score. Most require an essay detailing your goals and educational plans over the next couple of years. Considering the specific department that you are looking to enter into will determine the requirements of college entrance. Many departments such as the Nursing departments or Psychology department have strict guidelines requiring your entrance testing and previous GPA to tally to a certain level before you will be considered. That is the reason that it is highly important that you plan for the college entrance tests and study to prevent a declination letter. Choosing a college is not only about the entrance guidelines, but it can prevent you from entering if you have not scored well or performed poorly in high school.

Field of Knowledge

Having a basic idea of what career field that you want to study is another good way to determine which college is right for you. Not every college offers the type of degree that you may be looking for so it is important to research before applying. Most universities have websites that give a detailed list of degrees offered and the time line in which most students complete the program. If you are looking for a nursing program, you would want to make sure that the university that you are looking at offers a nursing program. Be careful with entering one college to get basics, believing that all the classes will transfer to the next university. In many cases, the credits will not transfer and then you are stuck with credits that are worthless.

Close to Home V.S. Distance

One of the biggest decisions for most students is whether to attend a local college or move away for a college education. Much of this decision is based on the financial resources that the student and/or parent have. Most parents advocate that their students remain close to home to defray living expenses. Other costs besides living arrangements that are sometimes pricey include out of state tuition. Another concern that students face when moving off to college is the lack of family support and contending with roommates in the dorm situation. College is stressful enough and can sometimes cause a lack of interest or study habits when faced with dorm mate problems. Of course, the cost of attendance is much less if the student remains in the parent's home. Most colleges require that if the student is not within living distance of the parents that they live on campus for the first two years of attendance. Again depending on the financial situation this can prove costly.

Traditional V.S. Distance Education

There are positives and negatives to both the traditional and distance education options of a college education. Over the past several years, a rise in popularity of virtual classrooms has surfaced. There are two negative issues that must be considered when looking at an online university. First, the student must make absolutely certain that the university is regionally accredited. Most of these online universities will boast their accreditation, but students must verify that the accreditation is by the regional educational board. One quick way to find out if they are legitimately accredited is to see if they can offer Federal Financial Aid, not only loans by private financing companies. Secondly, distance education is more costly than the traditional classroom setting. It is anywhere between $1500 and $2500 per five semester credit hours. Now that does not compare with the prestigious universities tuition rates, but neither does the diploma at the end of the college career.

Again, research and ensure that you are making an informed decision. Sometimes you can obtain information through the Internet or your local high school counseling office when deciding which university to attend. Another huge downfall that must be considered when looking at online universities is the fact that the student must exhibit excellent study habits and self-discipline. There are no set times for classes or professors to answer to if you over sleep. This can cause some students to fall behind and actually cause their college career to be much more difficult.

Choosing a college should be a decision that is not made overnight. There are many issues to consider and students should really think it through. After all this decision will affect the rest of your life and career. Attending a good and reputable college can mean getting a great job!
About the Author
Gene Grzywacz is also writes about: choosing an online college, note taking other and college student tips .
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