Tips for Finding a College
Characteristics Your Child Should Consider
How can your child find colleges
that match his needs? First, he should identify his priorities.
Next, he should carefully research the characteristics of a
range of schools. Finally, match the two. Here are some college
characteristics to consider.
affect many of your child's opportunities and experiences,
range of academic majors
amount of personal
attention your child will receive
number of books in the
In considering size, your
child should be very sure to look beyond the raw number of
students attending. For example, perhaps she's considering a
small department within a large school. She should
investigate not just the number of faculty, but also how
accessible faculty members are to students.
child want to visit home frequently, or does he see this as
a time to experience a new part of the country? Perhaps he
would like an urban environment with access to museums,
ethnic food, or major league ball games. Or maybe he hopes
for easy access to the outdoors or the serenity of a small
child knows what she wants to study, she can research
reputations of academic departments by talking to people in
the fields that interest her. If your child is undecided, as
many students are, she may want to relax and pick an
academically balanced institution that offers a range of
majors and programs. Students normally don't pick a major
until their sophomore year, and those students that know
their major before they go to college are very likely to
change their mind. Most colleges offer counselling to help
students find a focus.
In considering academic
programs, your child should look for special opportunities
and pick a school that offers many possibilities.
should consider what college life will be like beyond the
classroom. It's important for students to maintain a balance
between academics, activities, and social life. Before
choosing a college, he should learn the answers to these
activities, athletics, and special interest groups are
Does the community around
the college offer interesting outlets for students?
Are students welcomed by
Is there an ethnic or
religious group in which to take part?
How do fraternities and
sororities influence campus life?
Is housing guaranteed?
How are dorms assigned?
considering cost, look beyond
the price tag.
Today's college price tag makes cost an important
consideration for most students. At the same time, virtually
all colleges work to ensure that academically qualified
students from every economic circumstance can find financial
aid that allows them to attend. In considering cost, look
beyond the price tag to the assistance available.
should explore what she might gain from a diverse student
body. The geographic, ethnic, racial, and religious
diversity of the students can be a means of learning more
about the world. Investigate what kinds of student
organizations or other groups with ethnic or religious
foundations are active and visible on campus.
One of the
best ways to measure a school's quality and the satisfaction
of its students is to learn the percentage of students who
return after the first year and the percentage of entering
students who remain to graduate. Comparatively good
retention and graduation rates are indicators that
responsible academic, social, and financial support systems
exist for most students.