Important Things to ask yourself when Selecting a College

Each year many students enter college life with the aspiration of graduating, yet only around half of these students gain a college degree. There are many reasons for college drop out rates, but researching well when selecting a college can minimize the risk of failing to graduate. Your emphasis should be on searching for colleges which match your academic ability; your ability to afford the selected college; the level of graduation rates at your selected college; and personal considerations such as the size of the institute and the location.

It is important to select colleges which you are academically suited for. If your grades are average then you need to be realistic in your choice, but if you excel academically you should strive for the best colleges. Those who combine academic excellence with strong personal skills should aim high and consider the colleges which offer the best tuition and research opportunities to match their talents.

Affordability is a huge factor when selecting a college. Those who aim for the best education will find that the top schools in the nation offer excellent financial aid packages combined with need-blind admissions policies. Many top Ivy League colleges do not require their students to take on student loans to pay for their education, but instead offer financial aid which is determined by the difference in the cost of attending school minus the expected family contribution.

Thus some of the top schools are actually more affordable than some of the lesser known public schools, and should never be dismissed because of perceived impressions of high expense. When researching colleges you should always consider the financial aid packages on offer. 

Colleges will soon be required by federal law to publish transparency costs online which are a great help for students and their families to assess total costs involved. Having a career goal in mind can help you to determine if a college is worth its fees. It makes no sense to take out huge student loans for a degree in a subject which has little potential to enhance your earning opportunities upon graduation.

If top colleges are out of your academic reach it makes good fiscal sense to select an in state school, as generally the tuition rates are much lower for state residents. Also state residents are usually able to obtain state grants if they attend an in state school. The total expense is also reduced for those students who consider living at home whilst attending college. Some students drop out of college as institutions appear too large and impersonal, and they suffer home sickness. Be realistic and consider if this could be something which you may find detrimental to your studies.

Considering overall graduation rates from the college you select is important, as it reveals a lot. Colleges with very low drop out rates indicate that students feel at home there, with inspiring teaching and research, and high student satisfaction levels.

Selecting the right college is a crucial decision which can affect your long term goals. Choosing wisely can mean the difference between graduating with high student loan debt or very little debt. This in turn can influence your chances of going on to attend a post graduate or professional school, thus it pays to take the time to research all your options thoroughly with your thoughts focused on your ultimate goals.