As we near the season of regular decision college acceptance and rejection letters, let’s figure out how to make the best choice for you given your options.
How to Evaluate Best Fit
- Academic Programs. Do they have the field you are interested in pursuing? Those you are potentially interested in? Do you need to apply to it once you are enrolled? What kind of acceptance rate is there for said program?
- Class Size. What do seminars look like? Is the professor actually is teaching your classes, or are TAs doing the heavy lifting?
- Financial Aid. Self explanatory.
- College setting. Is this school in the rural countryside of Western MA or the heart of Manhattan? What kinds of opportunities for engagement with the surrounding communities are there? To what kinds of job opportunities and internships will you have access?
Often Overlooked Factors to Consider
- Are there people “like you” at this school? Are there people with whom you share ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, socioeconomic class, race and/or interests? What kinds of affinity communities are they forming? A familiar way of relating can ease your experience entering a sea of new people.
- Alumni network. This is so important. For Millennials entering the workplace, it is getting harder and harder to find a job through “merit” and qualifications. Most white collar jobs, and increasingly blue collar jobs, are acquired through networking. A strong alumni network can boost your efforts and land you the job of your dreams.
- How far is it from home? Is it driving distance? Is there public transport to/from your family? Will you be able to come home for breaks? What kind of expenses will storage require?
These are just a few of the questions to ask before signing up to serve 2 – 4 of your most formative years at an institution! Have others? Reach out to the Admissions Office at the school you are looking into and ask for a peer perspective.