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7 Tips on What to Look for When Searching for a College
Written by Christi Given | March 26, 2015
Many times as you search out a college, you can like a location or a school’s reputation academically, but when you actually arrive at the campus, you can end up having a change of heart. This happened to me because I was seeking out a school I thought I wanted to go to, but I got called elsewhere.
I looked in San Diego, Santa Barbara and even the Los Angeles area at different schools, but I knew once I stepped onto Vanguard University’s campus that I was meant to be there. Everyone has different preferences, purposes and callings, so each scenario is unique to that person. There is nothing wrong with any of the schools or locations I named, but there are certain qualities you should seek out when deciding to attend a college.
Tips on Choosing a College
1. Decide how far away you want to live (location): Most likely, if you are going from High School straight to college, you will live on campus. If you are transferring, maybe you will stay with a friend or will be commuting, depending on the area of the school in reference to your home. You may decide to live on campus, too—it really just depends from person to person.
2. Find a degree program aligned with your major and career goals: You want to find a school that will prepare you in your field and that will help you learn the most so you can apply your education to your life and future career path. Don’t choose a school just because it has one good thing about it and miss the majority of why you are there—for example, your bestie goes there or it’s by the beach. These are not priorities when it comes to your future, even though they are blessings and luxuries.
3. Evaluate finances: Make sure you are willing to fork out the money for your dream school or be willing to take out a student loan. Money is a factor and is important when making your final decision. Also, look into grants and other scholarship opportunities.
4. Look at opportunities, programs, specialties: Your school may offer special programs aligned with your career path. You definitely want to research what your potential school is known for and go for it! Talk with a counselor and/or school advisor before you apply and make your choice.
5. Go where you feel most led: A school may be known for its great programs or its prestige, but really you should attend where you desire to go. Make sure you visit the campus because this too can sway your decision. For example, if you like living by the mountains and want to be out of state, maybe a school in Oregon will fit your needs. Maybe you want to become a youth pastor or teacher—then a private Christian university like Vanguard (VUSC) or Oral Roberts may be a better fit for you. The bottom line is it is YOUR life and your choice, so make the smart decision for you!
6. Learn about the culture of the school: This point will be understood more once you attend your school and also get a feel for the culture. If you choose to join a sorority or club, you will find there is a culture and a way about the school and the students who attend there. This leads me into my final tip, which is to visit the college or university before confirming your decision.
7. Make sure you visit the campus before your final decision: Seriously, this is so important, because in my experience, this helped confirm my choice to attend VUSC. You may think you like a school and get there and have a change of heart—or, on the contrary, you may arrive and fall in love with your potential school. The important thing is to go to the school and get an official tour to feel out the campus. You’ll be able to feel out how the experience might be, and this can ultimately help you make the best choice for you.
PI Girls, does this help you regarding making your final decision regarding college?