One of the most challenging activities faced by American parents is helping a child to select a college. Many parents focus on making sure that a child can get into a good college without giving much thought to the end game: successful completion of a bachelor's degree. It's therefore crucial to think just as much about being able to get through college as about getting there in the first place.
best college for a given individual must meet a variety of needs, not
all of them strictly academic. One of the most important considerations
is location. Some students need distance from their parents in order
to fully adapt to adult life, while others do much better attending a
local institution that allows for frequent visits home.
colleges also vary widely in facilities, students should choose a
college that can help support their individual interests. Living
facilities are another key issue. Many freshmen entering higher
education thrive in a dorm-and-cafeteria environment because they don't
have to concern themselves with shopping and cooking; this allows them
to focus on their courses much more effectively. Freshmen who live
off-campus, in contrast, are more likely to struggle to adjust to
types and fees must also be taken into account. At some colleges,
students pay per class; others organize fees on a "full-time" or
"part-time" basis, which means that five or six courses will cost no
more than four. New freshmen, however, should be careful not to
overload themselves, particularly during their first semester.
most critical consideration, of course, is a good match between the
student's projected career path and the strength of a college's
programs. It makes little sense for a student fascinated by chemistry
to attend a fine arts college. Likewise, a student interested in
pursuing a bachelor of business administration should consider an
institution such as CBT College, which emphasizes a hands-on, practical approach to the discipline.
Applications and scholarships
mistake many families make is to apply only to those colleges that
appear affordable at first glance. The truth is that the advertised
cost of attendance is often much higher than the true cost; private
colleges in particular often offer generous scholarships that greatly
reduce the fees students pay.
are not the only source of scholarships. In many American communities,
local organizations and businesses are eager to help students afford
college. Students should also leverage the power of the internet to
look for aid, basing search terms on their own unique circumstances.
"Scholarships for rural students," for example, may produce a
surprising number of useful results. To cover all bases, however,
students should be sure to apply to at least one institution that would
be affordable without taking scholarships into account.
can be an exciting and rewarding time, but like most good things in
life, succeeding there will require effort and dedication. The first
and most important step is choosing the right college to begin with.