As January starts to draw near many seniors are starting to think about what’s next. What am I doing next year? Where should I go to school? What should I look for when I’m applying to schools? Whether you are a senior in high school looking at colleges, or a senior in college thinking about graduate school, there are many things to consider, but here are a few important ones:
Why go there?
Think about what you like. If you want a hands-on experience, then consider a college where you get to take classes that are creative and allow you to build things with your hands or participate in real life scenarios. If you don’t like huge classes and you want to form close relationships with your professors, then consider class sizes. With this, don’t just look at the general class size for the university, but for the specific field you are interested in studying. For example, while we attend a large University at CU Boulder, our program offers small classes and intentional opportunities to build relationships with faculty and staff. Then consider what other opportunities you hope to gain as a college student outside of the classroom. This could range from study abroad, internships or even practical application classes. Think about what you want, and find a school that provides it.
Where is it?
As realtors say, “Location. Location. Location.” Location might not be everything but it is something to consider. If you hate hot weather, maybe Arizona isn’t the right place for you. If skiing is your favorite pass time, then Colorado might seem like an ideal spot. College isn’t just about school, it’s also about experiences, and location is an important factor to those experiences.
What will it cost?
College is expensive, there is no way around that. It’s important to know though just how expensive. Look at tuition rates, typical room & board, books, and personal expenses. Once you know that, you can figure out how to pay for it. Every school will offer scholarships and grants, and you can always get a job. If you know what the cost is, then you know what it will take to cover it.
Who is admitted?
Make sure you check out who is admitted into the school, what grades they have, test scores, experience, and so on. Know the competition. Know what you need to do to get into the school you want. Then, if you don’t quite meet the requirements, you know what you need to work on to get where you want to go. It is important to look at these requirements early on so you have the opportunity to fix your class schedule if needed in high school. Don’t let acceptance rates and criteria keep you from applying, use that information to your advantage to get into the school you want.
When I graduate…?
You might not know the answer, but it’s important to think about where you see yourself in 10 years. If you want work in a specific career, make sure to go to a school that has a good program for that career. If you don’t know yet, use school as an opportunity to figure that out. Just make sure you pick a school that can support what you want for yourself in the future, whatever that may be.