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Posted on Jun 22, 2012 - 06:00 AM | Selecting a College | Comments (0)

People say it all the time: “There’s no such thing as the perfect college.”
And they’re right. But there is a “perfect college for you.”
The question is, “How do you find it?”
5 Characteristics of the PerfectCollege
  1. 1. Affordability. Can you afford the college? Does it offer great financial aid. It may have a lot of things going for it, but if you drop out over cost or take on student loans you’ll be paying back for the next 20 years, it’s not the perfect college for you.
  2. 2. Respectability. Is the school respected overall and more importantly, in your major? No sense going to liberal arts school if you’re interested in science and vice versa, but even liberal arts and tech schools have specialties. Find ones that employers respect in your chosen field.
  3. 3. Sociability. Do you fit in?Are you looking for students just like you, or do you want diversity on campus?
  4. 4. Location. Do you want to stay close to home or move 1,000 miles away? Do you want to go to college in the big city, wide-open country or the suburbs? Finding the place you want to be is extremely important.
  5. 5. Size. Do you want a campus with 1,500 students or 15,000? Either can be good, but you need the one that’s good for you.
How to Find the PerfectCollege
  1. 1. Get accurate college-cost estimates. This is among the first things you should do: find out if you can afford colleges you’re considering. While few college websites give accurate estimates, they are available (for a sample, visit Your Total Cost of College. Get a breakdown of your expected financial aid, out-of-pocket costs, and more).
  2. 2. Make campus visits. Visit campuses both formally and informally. When you meet with admissions officers, professors, etc., make a list of questions you need to ask. Also, take notice of important features: conditions of the buildings, neighborhood, student type, etc. Make a list of what you want and look for it.
  3. 3. Conduct research. This the broadest category yet. What’s the average freshmen GPA and SAT or ACT score? What’s the school’s job-placement rate? What’s their dropout rate? In what majors are they well-respected? What percentage of students live on campus? This list goes on and on, but you need to know this information to make an informed decision; to find the best college for you. (The easiest way to do this, rather than visit website after website, is to get it all in one place with a searchable database containing information on more than 4,000 colleges nationwide.)
There are more than 25 criteria by which to judge a college, including your personal preferences, academic standing, majors, courses, career connections, campus reviews and much, much more, but finance is a big one. The perfect college is one that won’t make you broke, bankrupt your parents, or force you to transfer to save money.
Of course, it’s not easy to find the right college for you, let alone the perfect college. Achieving perfection never is, but when you do, it’s worth the effort!
To find out how you can get all your research tools and tips in one place, contact our staff today at 800-898-4636. We’ll get you started looking for the college that’s perfect for you!


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