When searching for and selecting the right college, there are a number of key factors to consider to ensure that you choose the right one that fits you and your family’s needs. Here are a few important points:
• Academic reputation – academic reputation is one of the many things to look into when comparing colleges and their programs. For example, if a college is known for having a nationally recognized journalism program, it may be beneficial for you to take advantage of it since employers are likely familiar with the program and what it has to offer. This could ultimately lead to future job opportunities after graduation since employers may favor graduates who come out of a well-reputed program.
• Availability of majors – one of the most critical decisions you will make either before or during college is which major to pursue. That is why it is important to choose a college that has a diverse number of available majors, especially if you are undecided or ambivalent about your current major of interest – as it will best support your long-term career objectives. How? By having a large variety of majors, you will be afforded many programs to choose from if you are undecided or decide to change your major later on, meaning that you will not have to transfer to another college to find a major that best suits your interests.
• Accreditation – if you want to earn a degree that has the most value in today’s job market, you definitely want to attend a college that is accredited. Accreditation is an onerous process that institutions of higher education must go through in order to certify that their curriculum is on par with regional and national standards. You can find out if a college is accredited by checking its website, speaking with an admissions officer, or by reviewing a college’s academic catalog.
• College faculty and administration – a college is not a college without its faculty. That is why you should take a hard look at the quality and experiences of the professors. For example, some professors are world-renowned for their research on a certain subject, affording students potential avenues into the real world post-graduation. When visiting colleges, be sure to try and speak with professors in the areas of study that interests you, to learn more about them and their departments.
• Active alumni base – some colleges, especially older ones, have an active and extensive alumni base, which is always a positive thing as alumni are typically interested in supporting students - sometimes even helping them gain employment after graduation. Alumni are also helpful in that they can give you useful information about their experience at a given college as well as their thoughts about certain faculty and study programs. The more active alumni, the more opportunities there are for you to obtain valuable information about a college.