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How To Pick A College - Articles Surfing

Picking a college is one of your largest and most expensive investments in your life. It requires a lot of time and money, so you will obviously want a school that fits your needs and desires. By talking to the right people, asking good questions, and experiencing each school's unique collegiate atmosphere, you can learn a lot. Much of this can be learned in a one-day visit, more so than just looking at the school's promotional materials, websites, or advertising videos.

Arranging your visit in advance will give you some time to do a little research of your own so you aren't going in blind before hand. Arranging an appointment or walk-through is usually very easy and can be done by contacting the admissions office. It is to your best interest to schedule a walk-through on a school day so that you can observe a normal day on campus with students walking around. Also making an appointment to talk to a financial aid administrator, an admissions officer, and a professor in a few majors you may be interested in will really help you grab the most out of your visit. Talking to students will also give you a realistic view on what is happening at the school and how they like it.

Do your homework! Get ready for your walk-through by first going through the school's website, course catalogs, and any materials they have sent you already. As you investigate each school, jot down questions you have, things you see as a strength, as well as noticeable weaknesses. Start to make comparisons of each school, but remain open-minded as many of your questions will be answered during a visit.

Evaluate each campus you visit and remain attentive. Be open to what each school has to offer. During a visit, it's easy to be distracted by stately architecture, an enthusiastic tour leader, and the sheer energy of most campuses. What matters most is whether this college is right for you, your education goals, and your family's budget. Can you envision yourself spending several years there? Bringing a notebook to record your impressions and questions is highly recommended, along with a camera, and a map of each campus as well as the surrounding area. There are also a few things to consider doing or asking during a campus visit:

' Take a guided tour of the campus (dorms, academic facilities, student centers, athletic and fitness centers, and library).

' Try to eat where the students eat.

' Observe a class in session.

' Interview students to learn what they like and dislike about the school.

' Ask about the best places to study on campus.

' Is there a student writing center or tutor program?

' Ask about on-campus and local weekend activities.

' What are the cultural resources on and off campus?

' What medical facilities are available and are they open 24/7?

' Ask about the campus security situation and campus crime statistics.

' Read the school newspapers, student publications, bulletin boards, and online forums.

' At some time during your visit, wander the campus with no specific destination in mind. Most people will feel a sense of whether the school is right or wrong in their gut as they are walking around.

Picking a college doesn't have to be stressful or confusing. Simply gaging what you want with what each college has should give you a pretty good idea of what college is right for you.

Submitted by:

Charles O'Ryan

Build your credit with student credit cards and also find more of Charles' work at FINDcollegecards.



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