Selecting a suitable college for graduation is a stressful activity for many students and their families. Since each student is different in terms of his or her career goals, learning ability and environment, the concept of “right college” differs from scholar to scholar.
What compounds the problem is that university ranking metrics are not always accurate or reliable. Applying to college may be confusing amid the information overload collectively created by every institution that claims to be the best. The tussle between value and cost of education is taxing for every aspiring graduate.
However, there are a few parameters that can help a student in selecting a college that fulfils their career aspirations without being burdened by lifelong debts.
1. Academic environment and infrastructure
Each department in a college performs differently. A college that is prestigious for its law faculty may or may not have a great environment for liberal arts.
If many students are dropping out or unable to complete the course in the department that you are eyeing, then you may be facing a red flag. Speak to current students and find out how much their mentors are engaging with them.
Also, try to get information about teaching style. If it is just lecture, there may not be much learning to do.
2. Student Loans
Next to buying a home, getting a college education is the second biggest expense for an individual in the United States. It is highly recommended that you work out your financial position and calculate your possible debt. A loan may shadow your spending decisions for the rest of your life.
It is advisable to pick a college that offers both quality education and financial freedom, instead of one that offers a prestigious degree but traps you into financial burden for life.
Research suggest that an individual is more likely to do well in college and life if he/she is deeply involved in an extra-curricular activity while pursuing graduation. Take time out to find out how active are the college’s activity clubs that you may be interested in.
Relying on the internet alone may not be a good idea to explore the quality of co-curricular activities in a college. Make sure you visit the campus and look around.
Your college should have a thriving career services cell that offers career advise, learning opportunities matching student needs and most importantly, access to structured internship and on-the-job training programmes. These facilities should also offer the student a chance to secure financial aid and scholarships to ease the burden of student loans.
5. Alumni Network
It is recommended that prospective students get in touch with the alumni network of a college to get a realistic picture about what may await them in the institution. Social media sites like LinkedIn have already made it easier for potential scholars to learn about alumni network and resources. This method is not only valuable to get information about the college but also a smart way to network with people who may be your reporting managers after placements.