Wednesday, June 3, 2009

8 Rules for Selecting a College

During their 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. The ability of your student 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 have made a commitment to a particular college. The truth is there are over 6,000 colleges that a student can select from and all vary 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 CD recordings regarding several aspects of their college. Some colleges even offer a virtual tour of their campus.

You should find ways to creatively engage in conversations with students and alumni from the college. 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 successes and also talk about their challenges within their major. The beauty of a campus is not the only thing to consider. Each student should have an enjoyable college 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.


Eric Ten Broeck said...

Dear Dr. Jones, Great Blog Post, your eight rules for selecting a college are right on point. High School friends that are already attending a college can give a helpful perspective.

Janelle Jalbert said...

What many parents do not realize is that some selective colleges have actually rescinded acceptances or completely refused admission if a student is classified as a ghost applicant (meaning that there has been no contact outside of the application).

Please visit for additional info about the college admission process.