Choosing a college is a major life decision that will impact your future for years to come. Begin by researching different colleges and universities. Have discussions your parents or guardians, guidance counselor, teachers and peers. Take what they have to say under consideration, but remember at the end of the day you need to choose a school that best fits your needs.
Here are things to consider:
- Does the school offer the field of study that interests me?
- What is the application fee and can I apply online?
- What is the school’s size (campus and student population)?
- Where is the school located (in state or out-of-state)?
- How much does it cost to attend the school (including housing, meal plans and tuition)?
- What potential activities, organizations and civic and social groups are available on campus?
To get the answers to these question visit the potential schools website and order or call the admissions office directly for application materials, financial aid and scholarship information. Visit local college fairs and if at all possible schedule campus tours and or visits. In your consideration of colleges you need to know the types of colleges available:
- Four-year Public Colleges and Universities offer undergraduate students bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees. These colleges primary sources of funding are state and federal government.
Four-year Private Colleges and Universities offer undergraduate students a bachelor’s and or advanced degrees. These colleges primary source of funding is tuition, fees and other private sources.
Community Colleges are two-year colleges that allow you to earn an associate degree or transfer in a four-year college or university.
Vocational Training or Technical Schools specialize in training students for specific careers. They may offer different levels of degrees, from certificates to associates.
College Application Checklist
- Select and apply to three to five schools that best meet your needs.
- Check for the application deadline and apply early (it makes a difference).
- Include money order or cashier’s check for an application fees. Some applications are free.
- Answer all questions completely, do not leave any answers blank.
- If mailing in your application, fill out your answers neatly and legibly.
- If you are filling out an on-line application, save, print and review before submitting.
- Proof read your application and have a parent, teacher or counselor proof read it too.
- Determine if the school requires a essay. If so, type your essay and have someone review it.
- Be sure to include letters of recommendation.
- If applicable, include entrance exam scores such as SAT or ACT.
- Do your best to apply by the fall of your senior year at the latest.
- Make copies of your entire application, including your payment for your records.
Sources: DFW International, UNCF and ICAN