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The Art and Science of Finding a College
Finding the right college and gaining admission to that institution is arguably the most important challenge facing young adults and their parents. The high cost of tuition combined with intense competition makes choosing the right college, university, or technical school difficult.
Whether your interest is in the arts or sciences, whether you are seeking sports opportunities or knowledge in a technical field, there are many tools available to help you make your decision and find the learning community that best suits your needs. Even if you haven't decided upon a major, finding a college is an important first step that will set the foundation for your future career path.
Finding the perfect match is a matter of patience and planning. Here are some areas to think about when finding a college:
* Location - Do you want your college experience to be an opportunity to strike out on your own, or is it important to you to remain within a reasonable driving distance of home? Do you thrive in an urban environment that has access to a rich variety of cultural venues and the arts, or do you prefer a setting that's more bucolic and low-key?
* Size - Are you seeking the diversity of a large student body, or do you prefer an environment with fewer people? Is your field of interest so specific that course offerings can be found at only large colleges and universities, or do you place more importance on the accessibility of faculty to the student body? How important is the size of the college's library? All of these factors should be considered when finding a college.
* Housing - Will you be commuting from home, or living away from home? If you were living away from home, what housing opportunities would best suit you? If you interested in dorm life, does the college have adequate on-campus housing, or is there a waiting list? If you're more likely to live off-campus, is there a housing shortage in the community? What is the going rate for apartments, and how does that fit into your budget?
* Cost - Although there are a myriad of financial aid options available to students who qualify academically, cost is certain a consideration when finding a college. A community college or state university may be more feasible than a private college or university. Although student loans are available, being faced with an enormous debt upon graduation is less than desirable.
Once you have gone about the task of finding a college and have narrowed your choices, you need to work on getting admitted to that institution of higher learning. You may wish to engage a service that will help you define your goals, gain admission to the school of your choice, and transform your dream into a reality.
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