When you are going to college, you will have a lot of questions that need answers. Getting the most out of your time at college is essential. If you do not choose the right college or even the right program, then you could end up getting your career off to a negative start. So, when looking at furthering your education – what specifically should you be looking at? In the early stages of the selection process, you should begin getting definitive answers and ruling out colleges that do not fit your list of requirements or needs.
Staying Local or Looking Further Away?
Now, have you started to think about where you want the college to be located? For example, are you looking at staying local to where you live or even to the people that you know? Or are you more than ready for a fresh start? What is important to you, and what is crucial to your journey. Do you need or want the support system that your friends and family can offer? Or would you find that traveling to a new college gives you more opportunities to meet others? If you stay local, then consider what you have to gain in a few years.
What Program Do You Want to Study?
The program that you choose to study matters just as much as where you choose to study. If the program is not fulfilling your needs for your future, or for your career goals and aspirations – then it is simply a waste of money. When you are looking at which program to study, you need to think about what you want to get out of your studies. Look at your long-term aims and your short-term goals. If a program does not give you the flexibility and versatility that you need, then it may not be for you. To get a good feel for the programs available at any college or educational institution, then why not reach out to the providers, and ask as many questions as you need to.
What Career Plans or Future Plans Do You Have?
You may or may not have started thinking about concrete career plans; however, it would be beneficial to start putting some plans in place. When you have future plans, and career plans to work towards you have direction and you have a decisive course of action to follow. Without career plans, you may struggle to get the most out of your advanced education, and this may mean you end up feeling misguided, and ultimately misdirected.
Once you have seen (and realized) the importance of furthering your education in relation to your career plans, you then must start looking at colleges and looking at their entry requirements. A lot of colleges that have good success rates have very tough entry requirements to fulfill. Before it is too late, you need to establish what entry requirements are in place, and you have to establish how you will fulfil them. If you do not know what areas you need to be focusing on, then you may find out too late, and this means you get held back from realizing your full potential.
As well as looking at entry requirements, you also need to look at admission rates – as they may not be as high as you think. To ensure that you are suitable for a college, you will have to meet the entry requirements at a bare minimum. You will often find that the college has their pick of its candidates and that this is highlighted in the admission rates. If you are looking at specific colleges, then you need to check out (for instance) CampusReel’s page on Notre Dame admission rates because from here you will be able to establish if you are doing enough to get in (and justify your place). If admission rates are lower than you were expecting, then start evaluating what you are doing and see when you can do to offer more.
Student Engagement and Support
You don’t want to be alone when you go to college, and you certainly don’t want to feel alone either. The student engagements and support that you get offered by a college can impact the decision you make. If you are not given the time and energy responsiveness you deserve from the college (in those early days), then think about what it will be like in the future. You will need support when you are studying, and you will need others to look towards and seek support. If a college is not offering this to students as standard, then look at moving to a college that cares just a little bit more.
By now you will have looked at the reputation of a college, and you will have looked at student support, (as well as entry and admission requirements). Something that you must remember to do is analyze the success rates that a college provides. If a college has a high number of students enroll (but not too many succeeding or passing) then ask yourself why? If success rates are low and not in line with where they should be, then stop and evaluate what you will get for your time, energy and money. If success rates are based, what are they based on and at what point?
When you attend college, you want to feel like you have a bond and understanding with those that you work with. It’s important to look at as many areas as possible, simply because you need to know what you are signing up for (and what you are receiving). For example, does a college have a genuine interest in you after you leave the college? Do they want to help you liaise with their industry sources or contacts? Are you simply a number to them, or do they have bigger plans in the pipeline? Rushing the process of choosing a college will not be beneficial – so take your time, draw up a shortlist, and don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions to gather the information that you need.