Finding The Right College For You And Your Career Goals Is Both A Journey And A Discovery
By Stride Career Prep
With more than 5,000 colleges and universities in the United States, and even more overseas, it can be overwhelming to think about narrowing down a list of colleges to just a handful, for applications. As you approach this process, you might find yourself thinking, “If I haven't been to college yet, how am I supposed to know what type of school I would like to attend?” It’s a terrific question, and a great starting point in your journey.
While there’s no easy answer to the question above, there’s lots of excitement and discovery to be had, as you research your options and make the best college choices for your individual goals and needs. If you're looking for some research inspiration, here are a few ideas you may want to explore, to better define your college choice parameters.
Consider the size of the college.
The size of the college you attend will have a significant impact on your overall experience. Larger schools may have more opportunities for you to do research, but many of your classes may be held as huge lectures. On the other hand, smaller schools may give you more support and personalized attention, but they may not offer the huge football games or immersive school spirit experiences you seek. In either case, there are pros and cons to every college size, and you will want to decide which experiences are the most important to you, both personally and professionally.
Consider the location of the college.
Similar to size, location can have a significant impact on your college experiences. At some schools, it may not be easy to discern where the campus ends and the local city starts. Other college campuses may feel like a proverbial bubble, as though it is completely separate from the rest of the world. City schools may allow you to take advantage of museums and other resources, while suburban and rural schools may make you feel completely immersed in a community of your peers.
Is the college a public school or a private school?
Across the board, your college experiences at private schools or public schools can vary. However, there is one difference between the two that is reasonably consistent… price. Given that public colleges receive state funding, they will generally be a less expensive option, overall. However, as a result, more students are often interested in them, so they tend to be the larger schools, too. You may be able to get more personalized attention at a private college or university, but it can come with a hefty price tag.
Discover if the college is HBCU or All-Women's Status.
A number of schools cater to students with specific shared identifiers, with the most prominent currently being all-women’s colleges and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Going to these schools will give you a large affinity group of similar students that may enhance your academic and social experiences. There are relatively few of these colleges around the country, but they could be a great option for you, if you seek them out.
Does the college have a military affiliation?
Going to a military college is an excellent option for many students, although your experience will be drastically different from what many students typically envision for “college.” In typical military fashion, these schools will be more regimented than many of the other schools. One significant benefit of these colleges is that they are often free — if you complete a few years of military service upon graduation.
Considering attending a college fair, to learn more about potential schools? Read a Stride Success Coach’s advice here!
To learn even more from our Stride Success Coaches, be sure to read the Finding Your Path article, for additional college and career prep advice.
And, to learn more about Stride Career Prep Success Coaching for teens and what it offers, be sure to visit this site: https://www.stridelearning.com/career-prep/career-exploration/student-success-coaching.html
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