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Academics, scholarships and student life: Choosing a college that fits you

A university needs to provide the best education for an intended major of study for students.
Jackie Clayton, Fairfield Junior-Senior High School
Posted on Jan. 31, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 31, 2013 at 2:52 p.m.

Choosing a college can be one of the most important decisions students make about their future. A student should never make a decision about college just because that’s where the parents attended and especially not because that is where (boy or girl) friends are attending.

The university needs to provide the best education in the intended major of study and truly should meet the needs of each individual. Finding the right college fit can seem overwhelming, but if one keeps a few things in mind, it can be much less daunting.

One of the best ways to find out if a college is the right one for you is to make a visit to the campus. Traveling to a potential college can provide plenty of information for students and parents. Simply being aware of the distance from home can be a major determinate in college choice. Taking a walk around the campus and getting a feel for the size and setting, whether it’s rural or urban and knowing one’s preference for a particular setting can be key.

Make an appointment with an admissions counselor when you visit and bring a list of questions for the admissions counselor to help eliminate misconceptions and confusion about a college. Questions regarding class size, faculty/student ratio, support for classes, graduation and job placement rate are important things to find out, as well as cost for tuition, room and board. Find out about financial aid and if there are grants or scholarships available.

Lastly, be sure to visit several different colleges that offer the major being pursued. Keep a list of pros and cons of each institution, to later make an informed decision. Choosing the right college should be a joint decision between the student and parents, realizing that ultimately the student will be the one attending and needs to be comfortable with that final decision.

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