Rules for Selecting a College or University

By: Rakeish Bedesi

Rules for Selecting a College or University

 College and university admissions officers across the country was asked what rule(s) should students follow when selecting a college or university. Here are the top ones:

1.       Broaden Your Perspective: Many students across the country judge colleges and universities based on name recognition. However, there are many highly commended and renowned colleges and universities that you may have skipped over. Click here for a list of “A+ Colleges and Universities for B Students.”

2.       Know the College or University: Research. Research. Research. Thoroughly research at least three to four colleges on your list that you know very little about. You may find a college or university that was not a top choice is a perfect fit. At the very least, you may eliminate a college or university from your list.  

3.       Research the Right Stuff: When you research a college or university, be careful with labels. A lot of folks refer to a college as "good", "hard to get into" or "too expensive” without really knowing the facts. Do not accept these generalizations. Be sure to look further into the college statistics and programs offered in terms of your needs and interests. For example, many “expensive schools” receive sizeable endowments and offer some of the best financial aid. Also, “good” colleges or universities might not have the best program for your intended major or area of interest.

4.       Make a Visit: Once you narrow your list down, we advise you to visit at least three to four colleges or universities before making a final decision. Many students spend a lot of time and money trying to get accepted to a college rather than finding the right college. Play your cards right and you will not be disappointed.  On your college visits, bring along a family member or a close friend to discuss your observation. Remember that a college may seem different on paper than it does visiting the campus. Seeing the campus and speaking with admissions officers and current students will give you a better, realistic impression of the university.

5.        Get Answers: Making an informed decision is vital to selecting the right college for you. Unfortunately, visiting the top three or four colleges of your choice can be expensive, especially if those colleges and universities are in different states. If you cannot afford to make campus visits, call admissions representatives at the college or university and ask questions. Write down a list of questions before you call and cover all areas of interest with the representative. Feel free to ask about student life and extracurricular activities. A lot of people answering the phones and working in admissions departments are current students. If you do not feel comfortable calling the office directly, you can also send an email with your questions.  

6.       Make Your Own Decisions: Often students apply to a certain college or university because their friend and boyfriend/girlfriend are applying… Do you see where this is going? A college or university may be a perfect fit for them but not for you. Find a college that caters to your specific needs and interests.  

7.       Apply for Financial Aid: Calculating the cost of attending a certain college or university can be difficult. Regardless of whether you think you need or will qualify for aid, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). All students interested in either government or institute financial aid must complete the FAFSA. FAFSA is free money for college and it’s on a first come first served basis. FAFSA begin to receive application on January 1st. each year. Also, many institutions offer scholarships, financial aid, student loans and tuition installment plans. Do not forget to factor costs for room and board, books, meal plans and general living expenses.    

8.       A Different Point of View: Once you narrow your list of colleges down, you should consider speaking with your family, high school counselor, teacher or friend that you trust. Mapping out the pros and cons with another person can help you organize your thoughts.

9.       Write down Deadlines: Whether it is an application for college, financial aid, scholarships, or campus housing, missing the submission deadline can cost you. Write down important dates, gather application materials and take required tests well before the deadline… Trust us- Making a deadline only becomes more important once you are in a college.

8.     Reach and Safety Schools: If you do not use our service, you should definitely apply to a few reach schools and safety schools. Reach schools are colleges that you may or may not get accepted to, but you would like to attend if you were to gain admission. Safety schools are colleges or universities that you are likely to get accepted to and would attend if you did not get accepted to your reach schools. Take the time now to thoroughly research both your reach and safety schools.  An Easy, Stress-free Alternative: Simply avoid the anxiety, complete a free college application with Applying to School and let more than 3,000 colleges and universities find and perhaps make you an acceptance offer. After pre-screening your application, colleges and universities will only invite you to apply if you are likely to get accepted.

11.     Follow-up Call: Two weeks after you submit your application, call the college or university admissions department to check that they have received your application package. 

Following these rules from the college and university admissions officers will help you in the difficult task of selecting the right college or university.


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