Choosing a university should be more than what color you look best wearing or where your brother went. There are some things that can be vital to the quality of education you’ll receive and how you will fare in the job market once graduated.
Here are a few things that you may not have thought about yet:
Whether a school has 5,000 or 30,000 students will make a huge difference in your undergraduate education. Extracurricular activities and jobs may be plentiful at a larger university, but small class sizes and personalized attention from professors are what the smaller universities offer.
Check what programs and majors are offered at each university. Universities offer a variety of majors, but they tend to have more well-known or standout programs offered that provide opportunities for unique education and growth. Take into account the specific coursework you will have to accomplish for your desired major and decide if that’s what you want to do. Classes are similar during your general education semesters no matter where you go, but specialties and unique opportunities live in upper-division courses.
You can’t go to school without money. If you are paying out of pocket or are covering partial expenses, then be sure to consider tuition prices. In-state is cheaper than out-of-state, the bigger universities tend to be more expensive than smaller institutions. Some locations may offer more specific scholarships for you, where others could have hundreds of students all applying for one scholarship opportunity.
Location of a university can make all the difference in your collegiate career. City locations have a hustle and bustle and may offer more connections to outside employment. More rurally located universities offer unique education settings, like access to public lands, national parks, and specialized research projects. Many students report having a deeper connection to their university and the community in smaller cities or towns. Depending on your field of study, location may be the deciding factor.
Linked to location of the university comes job opportunities. Bills add up fast and employment is needed by the majority of college students. Whether it is an on or off campus job, know what is available to you. Colleges usually have job boards where openings are posted, but the volume of opportunities may vary depending on college location.
As a college student, you will have a lot you can add to your schedule besides school and work. Clubs, Greek life, athletics, theater, and so much more is available at every university. Most of these organizations or teams offer leadership opportunities or service projects that are vital to any good resume. Plus, you may meet your best friend in the Archery Club or on the Ballroom Dance Company.
If you are set on living in a dorm with roommates, or in a house with friends or in a studio apartment by yourself, then make sure you have options at the university you choose. Some places offer limited on-campus selections or have more single housing vs. married housing available. Assess your needs and find a college that fits them.
Graduation rate refers to the time a student enters and completes a degree at a four-year college. The rate can be helpful in understanding your options because a high graduation rate can be used as a measurement of student success. We want our chosen university to be able to deliver, meaning they have a helpful, encouraging environment for students. Low rates can mean there are a lot of students who transfer out of the school or do not complete their degree.
How many people actually get hired after graduating from a certain university? That information is available online, which is a good gage of the quality of education you will get at each institution. The biggest reason to attend college is to get a better paying job than you would without an education. Make your degree count and go somewhere that will help you start a better career faster.
With these points and more, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Choose a college or university that will help you grow and learn, whether that be elite athletics, one-on-one learning from instructors, opportunities for student government or joining the best Quidditch team in Utah.
Create your own college experience, tailored for you, by you.
Meet the Author - Lexi Carter is currently a marketing student at Southern Utah University. Working as a writer for the school, she helps promote, advertise and display how awesome Thunderbirds can be. When she isn't studying or writing, she can be found watching Doctor Who, taking care of her pet hedgehog Merlin or rocking out to Five Finger Death Punch, the Les Miserables soundtrack and Garth Brooks.