Choosing a College

Choosing a College

  1. Start thinking about college early . If you decide college is something you want, be prepared to put forth a lot of effort. It takes serious work to get there, but is can also be very rewarding. A little planning and preparation can make the process go very smoothly. Discuss this with your guidance counselor so they can help you prepare for college and assist in reaching your goal.
  2. Explore your financial options immediately. It usually takes a team effort to pay for college education so discuss finances with your parents as soon as possible. Since they may not be able to fund your education by themselves, it is important that you try to decide what you can afford, who will pay what, and how to get money (i.e., loans, grants, savings or a job.) It may be tough to talk about, but it gives you more time to work out a solution. Since you will probably apply for financial aid in your senior year, you will need to have an idea of what you can afford beforehand.
  3. Determine what you want to study in college. Select a major that you enjoy, and explore career options that interest you. Don't pick a career that pays well, but doesn't excite you; you probably won't finish, and if you do, you may spend the rest of your life doing something which you do not enjoy. It is important that you select a major so you can pick the right school for your needs. It is also a good idea to look closely at career options, because not all degrees will lead to a job you like, if any at all. If possible, talk to people who do the type of work that interests you.

Choosing a college or university is an important and complicated decision. There are many factors that contribute to the process, but the important thing is to find a place where you are comfortable and stimulated toward doing your best. Several factors you should when choosing a college are:

Program

  • Does the college offer a good program in your area of interest?
  • Is the facility qualified, friendly, and concerned about students?
  • Is the ratio of students to faculty low enough so that you can get proper attention?
  • Does the school have other programs of interest for you, such as sports, clubs, etc.?

Admission Requirements

  • What specific high school subjects, grade point average, and entrance tests are required?
  • When are the enrollment application deadlines?
  • Does the campus have special admissions for students and what is involved in that process?
  • Are there any scholarships or grants available right after enrollment?

Geographic Location

  • What's around the area of the college? Is it located in a metropolitan or rural area? Are there hiking trails, beaches, ski slopes, etc. nearby?
  • How far is it from home? Will travel costs present a problem?
  • Are you planning on using a dorm? What are rent costs? Utilities? Any benefits or free services?
  • If you're planning on working part time, are there any job opportunities available in the area?

Choosing a University/College

BIG FUTURE (FROM THE COLLEGE BOARD)

You have 3,760 college options. Big Future will help find the colleges and universities that are a good fit for you.

Big Future College Board website

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY

At CSU Apply you can:

Visit the CSU Apply website (www2.calstate.edu)

EXPLORE

  • Learn more about a CSU campus
  • Compare campuses
  • Search CSU degrees and majors
  • Learn about the Associate Degree for Transfer

PLAN

  • Admission requirements
  • Financial aid options
  • Find out your Early Assessment Program (EAP) results
  • Search transfer degrees from community colleges to CSU Campuses

APPLY

  • Undergraduate
  • Graduate
  • International

Is your campus still accepting applications?

THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

Learn more about applying as an undergraduate at UC.

Explore your options: It's helpful to understand that while all UC campuses provide creative and challenging learning opportunities, not every campus is suited to every student. Along with thinking about what you want scholastically — which is certainly important — reflect on what you're looking for socially and geographically, too.

University of California

VIRTUAL COLLEGE FAIR

CollegeWeekLive is the world's largest and most successful college fair and it meets entirely online. Live chat with hundreds of colleges and universities. Sign-up now. It's free!

COLLEGE ESSAYS THAT WORKED

The Hamilton College Office of Admission identified a few of the exceptional essays they received in applications for admission.

College essays that worked

Here are some good examples from Tufts University

THE INEVITABLE COLLEGE ESSAY QUESTION: WHY ARE YOU A GOOD MATCH?

Jeannie Borin is a college admissions consultant and writer for the "Huffington Post." She has written an excellent blog on writing a strong college essay, but it can also be used as a guide to help pick the right college for you.

Why are you a good match?

GREAT JOBS GREAT LIVES: THE 2014 GALLUP-PURDUE INDEX REPORT A STUDY OF MORE THAN 30,000 COLLEGE GRADUATES ACROSS THE U.S

For years, the value of a college degree has been determined not by the most important outcomes of a college education, but by the easiest outcomes to measure, namely, job and graduate school placement rates and alumni salaries (usually only from their first job out of college). While these metrics have some merit, they do not provide a holistic view of college graduates’ lives. These outcomes do not reflect the missions of higher education institutions, and they do not reflect the myriad reasons why students go to college.

Great Jobs, Great Lives

WHAT TO ASK WHEN YOU TOUR A COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY

The following is from an article in "U.S. News and World Report" by Lynn O'Shaughnessy:

One of the best ways to learn more about colleges is to take a tour of the campus. They are free and are specifically designed for high school students. When you're on a college campus, my advice is to slow down and ask a lot of questions.

Ideally, you'll want to talk with more than just the admission staff. Stop a few students during your stay and ask them what they like and don't like about their school. If you can talk to a professor or two, even better.

To make the most of your college visit, here are 36 questions that I'd recommend that you ask:

Academics

  • How much time do students typically spend on homework?
  • How much writing and reading are expected?
  • What is the average class size of introductory classes?
  • How widely used are teaching assistants on your campus?
  • What is the average class size of upper-division courses?

Academic Perks

  • What opportunities are there for undergraduate research?
  • How many students participate in undergraduate research?
  • Is there a culminating senior year experience?
  • Do you have an honors college?
  • Do you have a learning community or other freshman experience?

Financial Aid

  • What is your average financial aid package?
  • What is the typical breakdown of loans versus grants?
  • What percentage of financial need does the school typically meet?
  • What is the average merit award?
  • What percentage of students receive college grants?
  • What is the average college debt that students leave with?
  • What work-study opportunities are there?

Graduation Track Record

  • What is your four-year graduation rate?
  • What is your five-year graduation rate?
  • What does it take to graduate in four years?
  • What percentage of freshmen return for sophomore year?

Academic Support

  • What type of tutoring program do you have?
  • How do you provide academic advice to students?
  • Do you have a writing center and how do I access it?
  • What kind of learning disability resources do you have?

Outside Opportunities

  • How many students at the college get internships?
  • What percentage of students study abroad?
  • What type of career services do you have?

Student Life

  • What kind of dorm choices are there?
  • What percentage of student live on campus?
  • How long are dorm accommodations guaranteed?
  • How many students live on campus?
  • Do most students go home on the weekend?
  • What percentage of the study body belongs to a sorority or fraternity?
  • What activities are offered to students?
  • What clubs do you have on campus?

HOW TO CHOOSE A COLLEGE THAT'S RIGHT FOR YOU

Martha O'Connell is the executive director of Colleges That Change Lives, an organization that helps students identify colleges that could be a good match for them. She has written an article for NPR that will help you find a college that is a good fit for you.

How to choose a college

FIND THE RIGHT COLLEGE FOR YOU

The College Navigator is a great way to find schools that may be a good fit for you.

  • Refine your search with More Search Options to select additional search criteria.
  • Build a list of schools using My Favoritesfor side-by-side comparisons.
  • Pinpoint school locations with an interactive map.
  • Export search results into a spreadsheet.

College Navigator

COLLEGE PLANNING: REAL QUESTIONS FOR COLLEGE TOURS

Mir Kamin is a blogger and mother who has some excellent advice on questions parents should ask while on a college tour.

Questions while touring a college

COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY GRADUATION RATES (COLLEGE RESULTS ONLINE)

College Results Online (CRO) is an interactive, user-friendly Web tool designed to provide policymakers, counselors, parents, students, and others with information about college graduation rates for nearly any four-year college or university in the country.

CRO

COLLEGE MAJORS 101

Learn about College Majors by:

  1. Exploring University profiles/videos on each subject (To see what you will ACTUALLY LEARN and DO while in College)
  2. Exploring Student/Professional Associations in each Major (To see the major at a much deeper level)
  3. Reading Industry Publications (To understand the daily news of your Major)
  4. Links to Future Employers (To see the REAL professional nature of your major)

College Majors 101

CAPPEX

College Search: Compare colleges, find tuition and admission information and discover your admission chances from more than 3,000 schools. Our school profiles include statistics and majors.

College Reviews: See what college students are saying about each school to learn more about their academics, extracurricular opportunities, and campus life. We currently feature more than 1.4 million reviews.

College Scholarships: Conduct a scholarship search to find the ones that match your strengths and skills best. Our scholarship directory has more than $11 billion.

Cappex


MYINTUITION (SEE HOW AFFORDABLE COLLEGE CAN BE)

This innovative tool provides a reliable estimate of what a family will have to pay based on just six simple questions. In three minutes, you’ll have a good idea of what an individual school will approximately cost for you to attend.

MyInTuition

THINKING ABOUT COLLEGE OUT OF STATE

Through the Western Undergraduate Exchange:

Check it out at www.wiche.edu/wue

COLLEGEINSIGHT

College InSight puts higher education data at your fingertips. Browse and compare information about affordability, diversity, and student success.

CollegeInSight

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AND CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS TOURS


VISIT A CSU OR UC If you are interested in visiting any of the California State Universities (CSU), please log onto CSU Campus Tours. If you are interested in visiting any of the Universities of California (UC) please follow the links:

UC Berkeley Campus Tour

UC Davis Campus Tour

UC Irvine Campus Tour

UCLA (Los Angeles) Campus Tour

UC Merced Campus Tour

UC Riverside Campus Tour

UC San Diego Campus Tour

UC Santa Barbara Campus Tour

UC Santa Cruz Campus Tour

College of the desert


College of the Desert is one of over 112 community colleges in California and a vital part of the world’s largest system of higher education. The governing body of College of the Desert is the Desert Community College District, which has five elected members on its Board of Trustees and a Student Trustee elected by the Student Body.

The college was founded in 1958 and opened its doors for the first time in September 1962. The current average student enrollment each semester is approximately 10,000.

As a two-year college, COD offers transfer students an affordable option for starting college and transferring to a four-year institution. College of the Desert is the number one source of transfer students to California State University at San Bernardino. COD also offers a number of popular vocational and technical programs, including Nursing and Health Sciences, Digital Design and Production, Turf Grass Management & Ornamental Horticulture, Advanced Transportation Technologies, Culinary Arts, and a full range of Administration of Justice courses at the Public Safety Academy training facility.

Here's a link to a 6-minute video that summarizes how we benefit individual lives and our community every day.



www.collegeofthedesert.ed


VISIT MT. SAN ANTONIO COLLEGE


At Mt. SAC, students can get the full college experience without the full college debt. We give our students the support and excellent education they need to succeed in new careers, gain admission into top-tier universities, or advance in their current line of work. We have more than 200 degree and certificate programs, 25 support programs, and more than 50 student clubs and athletic programs.

Tour Mt. SAC

VISITING HARVEY MUDD COLLEGE

Come experience the Harvey Mudd College campus and community firsthand! Use the links on the left to find out more about campus tours, overnights and class visits, and then be sure to make your way to our Harvey Mudd Vistor Calendar for event availability and registration.

Visit Harvey Mudd College

TOUR USC

USC offers a variety of tours to acquaint you with diverse aspects of the campus and the university. Our Admissions Center staff members offer group tours (lengths vary) as well as specialized tours for prospective freshmen, prospective transfer students and students who have been admitted. Those who prefer to go it alone can explore with the help of our self-tour guides. Whether you’re looking for a general tour or a focused encounter with public art, architecture, athletic facilities or hidden treasures on campus, USC will illuminate your exploration.

Visit USC

UCLA SCHOOL OF THE ARTS AND ARCHITECTURE


Learn about the variety of performing and visual arts majors at UCLA. Presentations include department descriptions, application process, portfolio/audition requirements, housing, student life, and financial aid/scholarships. These events are Free and are open to all prospective students, parents, educators and counselors. There are several dates still available in surrounding areas. Please visit the following website to sign up:

UCLA Art School Tours

For more information call (310) 825 – 8981

PROSPECTIVE STUDENT TOURS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE

The Office of Admission invites prospective students and their families to visit our campus. Tours led by a current student and are offered Monday through Friday at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The campus is closed on most holidays.

During your visit, you can:

  • Take a student-guided tour
  • Explore ways to get involved with student life
  • Meet with a professor or athletic coach
  • Discover why the University of La Verne is the place for you

If you would like a tour of the campus, please complete the form to reserve your appointment. Please schedule your visit at least 24 hours in advance. Parking details and check-in information will be sent to you in a confirmation e-mail. The Office of Admission is located on the second floor of the Abraham Campus Center.

Tour University of La Verne

VISITING THE UNIVERSITY OF REDLANDS


With a backdrop of two of the highest mountains in California, orange groves, hundreds of iconic palm trees and unique architecture styles of Greek, Spanish and Modern California, the University of Redlands is a place you need to see for yourself. We also want you to experience the warmth of our community. With a variety of opportunities to visit us, we hope you will find this information helpful in planning your visit.

Tour the University of Redlands

UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO CAMPUS TOUR


If you are interested in visiting the University of San Francisco (USF), please log onto USF Campus Tours. This site will give you all the information you need to attend a preview day or to arrange a campus tour.

VISIT ST. MARY'S COLLEGE


The Saint Mary's College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For more than 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church's oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 4,000 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary's College just 23 miles east of San Francisco.

Tour St. Mary's College

TOUR PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY


The Office of Admission invites all prospective students and their families to visit our picturesque campus in Malibu, California. Through these in-person experiences, you will gain a better appreciation for the opportunities that Pepperdine has to offer.

Pepperdine Campus Visit

TOUR THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON


Your visit to the University of Washington will include a Guided Campus Tour, led by a UW student, and a Freshman Admission Information Session, led by an admissions counselor.

University of Washington