If you are coming up to finishing high school and thinking of what to do next, then going on to study at college is a great idea. Not only will it arm you with the relevant qualifications to forge a successful future career, but it will also help you grow as a person. The friends you make at college will also give you a solid network to call on in times of trouble, when you need some help.
The stats around gaining a college degree and how it can improve your life afterwards also make for impressive reading. Compared to high school graduates, college graduates will earn around $1m more on average during their lifetime and are half as likely to be unemployed.
Choosing the right college is key
Of course, getting the most out of your education when at college is critical. You must do extensive research to find out which colleges offer the course you want to enroll on and which is the best choice for you. To get an idea of exactly what other things you should be researching, the below tips should help:
- Check out the entry requirements – once you have found a college that offers the right course, the first thing to do is look into the entry requirements. After all, there is no point wasting time applying if you do not have the required averages or grades to make it. It is also worth checking if they will ask you to attend for an admissions interview. If so, make sure to prepare for this well in advance. Bryant and Stratton College has put together some great information to help with this – the Bryant and Stratton guide to acing your college interview is definitely worth reading.
- Location – the next key thing to think about is where any college you may choose to attend is located. Is it close enough to travel to easily from home, or will you have to move to the other side of the country to live on campus? What you are comfortable with in terms of living arrangements will greatly affect the choice you make in terms of which college to study at.
- Previous academic record – as noted above, getting a college education is worthwhile but only if you study at a college with a good track record of academic success. When choosing which one to study at, look at the past few years’ results to see how many degrees were awarded and at what grades. Pay close attention to how the subject you are planning to study fared as this is crucial. Naturally, you are looking for a college that has excellent past results as this will be a sign that you will get the best education possible to succeed.
- What are the career prospects like? – another key factor to look into when choosing the college to study at is what recent graduates have gone on to do in terms of employment. This kind of information can often be found in the alumni section of a college’s website or certainly with a quick search online if not. You should also find out what support the college gives towards the end of your time there, in terms of helping you to connect with potential employers.
- A supportive environment to study in – although studying at college is a mainly academic process, you do also need to look at the pastoral support that it will provide you. This is especially true if you will be living away from home when a student there. Take the time to find out if there are mentors there to help you settle in and members of the teaching staff that you can turn to for issues around personal support as well as academic problems.
Remember to think about the extra-curricular activities
Although you will be busy studying on your course, there will also be free time to enjoy. A great way to use this is to join extra-curricular clubs or societies. This will not only help you make new friends but also aid in your personal development. Being a member of a college society is also an attractive thing to put on your CV for employers. Have a look at any college you plan to study at and see if it has a good choice of these to consider.
Take your time to find the ideal college
As the above shows, there are a number of things to look into when choosing which college to study at. Taking your time to fully research them all is important so that you make the right choice and have a happy time when studying there. If you are a little stuck on exactly what to consider before you apply, then the above should help.