We all go through this face of life when we are in a dilemma of evaluating the best suited college for our graduation. As we all know, a metric is a measurement that is used to gauge the quality of an attribute, and essentially tells you if something is good or bad. For example, when you want to know if a movie is worth watching, you may look at movie reviews to see how many stars were given to the movie. The same sort of principle can be used when choosing a college.
What metrics should you analyze when trying to find the best college for you? Here are some ideas to get you started in the areas of academic life, student life, and financial factors.
1. What interests you?
List the fields of study that interest you, and come up with a list of courses you would consider studying based on these interests. Add the topics that you were most interested in during college as well as jobs that you envied others for.
2. Distance from Home:
For many students, college can be a time of exploration. However, for other students, 'Home' is where the family is. Decide whether you would benefit from a new environment and people with backgrounds different from yours, or if you are more likely to thrive in a secure and familiar setting.
3. Graduation Rate
Graduating from college is definitely more important than getting accepted. Without graduation, what’s the point of being accepted in the first place? When considering a college, review the percentage of students who complete the full program.
Some people perform better and learn more in a college that has a core curriculum or a number of requirements for graduation while others prefer exploring new fields on their own. Will you benefit from a structured curriculum, or do you want to develop new interests in your own time?
5. Academic Pressure:
More often than not, students fail in college due to the academic pressure--a lack of intellectual ability is rarely the problem. Evaluate carefully what the colleges you are considering expect of their students and how much you want to be pushed.
6. What's Important to You:
Do you care more about a college's prestige, its standpoint on religion or its tolerance for a student's personal values? Colleges that blend both values and prestige tend to be either extremely small, extremely selective or both. The best way to assess the college's values is to explore the demographics of the student body. Find out if students volunteer, if the college offers courses in ethics or if the teachers encourage cooperation over competition.
Colleges always publish demographics information, such as gender, race, and religion. If you have a particular preference, you won’t have to do much research to figure out what college would best suit you.
8. Institutional Size:
Although some people are adaptive enough to fit in at either a large or small college, most people find that one size will fit their needs better than another. A large college can be exciting, but lonely; a small college can be friendly, yet stifling. If you learn best by listening and observing, a large college might be best for you. Conversely, a small college will offer more hands-on training, but less diversity in curriculum.
The internet, newspapers, television and people around you are the best sources of information. Check online about the courses you are interested in and find out about the career prospects and the other info. Speak to people who are in your interested profession and find out what it is to choose your future career. People who have completed university courses can give you an insight from a student’s perspective - they can tell you the pros and cons.
10. Alumni Network:
If you want to stay connected to your fellow alumni no matter where life takes you, consider the size of a college’s alumni association. If life takes you around the world, it will be nice to know that you have connections, no matter where you go.
Additionally, a strong alumni network can help you find a job, and the network is essential in the job hunting process for some great career fields, such as finance. A strong alumni network can also help graduates find an apartment for rent in a new town, and provide advice on where to live or where to dine when you’re moving to a new city.
Review the college’s accreditation. In order to get into graduate or professional college, your undergraduate studies may have to be completed at an accredited institution. Students who attend unaccredited colleges are not eligible for financial aid.
For well-known universities and colleges, accreditation is almost a given. But with smaller colleges and online colleges, this isn’t always the case. Even if an online college is accredited, research graduate colleges and professional colleges of interest to ensure the colleges accept the accreditation.
12. Cost of study
Last but not the least, unless you already have a large college savings fund, cost is probably an important metric for you. Some prospective students may look at pricier colleges, but for others, it’s important to afford college without taking out student loans. Remember to include room and board, along with tuition, when calculating the total costs for attending a college.