As the price of a college education skyrockets, parents and their children alike have to make sure that the college route is the best route. At the same time, they have to determine which college or university is the best, if not the “perfect,” fit. To do so can be a daunting task that requires many resources and hours of research, but if you use the following tips, the task can be made easier:
1. Make a list of all the qualities in a college or university that your child wants. Are there any activities that your child would like to continue/take up in college? What kind of interests does your child have? Write these down, because they will be helpful in determining the outcome of the next step.
2. There are hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States alone. If your child wants to attend an international school, that is a whole other question. If you visit College Board’s website, you can find out about most, if not all, of the colleges and universities that are accredited in the United States. This is a great resource to have because you can easily customize your search according to distance, type of university/college, majors, activities, etc. You can also compare the price tag of all the colleges and universities you look at, so that you don’t even have to visit their respective websites.
3. Use the College Board’s website to give you an idea of the schools that your child might want to know more about. Go to their websites, and then narrow the list down to a few.
4. Usually, the best way for you to find out which college is the best fit for your child (and you) is to visit the college. So, narrow your list to three or four colleges (think about your travel budget) and then take the necessary steps to visit them. Usually, you may have to call the admissions office of the college and ask if there are available tours. Before you go on the tour, write down at least five detailed and important questions that you want to ask the tour guide. While at the college, ask the admissions office if you can drop in on a few classes. Usually, colleges will have preset dates on which you can visit them.
Sometimes, you may think that a college is great in the beginning, and only find out later on that you and the college don’t “click.” In this case, you have to really think hard about your next step. But, you can try to avoid this by making sure that you identify the college that best fits you and your child’s lifestyle.