When getting ready for college, it's important to stay focused on what's right for you—from degree programs, to financial aid, to campus locations and more. When you have a clearer picture of what you're looking for in a college, you can begin researching individual schools to see if they're a good fit. Then call or contact the admissions offices of those schools to get started.
The next step is narrowing down the list of schools you're interested in to four or five. Then you can visit the campuses, talk to students, and make your own decision about which school feels right.
Before visiting the colleges you're interested in, it's important to have a checklist to take with you. This can help you decide which college is the best for you.
Here is your Student Checklist. Be sure to print this out.
|Questions to Ask||Notes|
|Does the school's reputation meet my requirements?|
|Do I fit the personality of the student body?|
|Can this school meet my educational goals?|
|Does this college have advisors who will help me schedule classes correctly so that I can meet my goals as quickly as I want?|
|Are classes taught by professors? |
(This is important. Sometimes, especially at larger universities, classes may be taught by graduate students.)
|Will this school give credit for Advanced Placement tests and/or dual credit courses taken in high school?|
|Will this school accept my credits if I start out at a two-year community or technical college?|
|Does this school require freshmen to live on campus? Do I have a choice of where I live? (Common choices are at home, in a nearby apartment, in dormitories on campus, or in campus apartments? Where you live affects how much college will cost.)|
|Is financial aid available?|
|Is the financial aid office on campus? What are the hours?|
|If I qualify for financial aid, will the school let me use it to pay my tuition and fees, or will I have to pay up front (possibly with an emergency loan) and then get reimbursed when my aid arrives?|
|Are there scholarships available at this school? If yes, are they based on athletic, merit or something else? Which campus office handles scholarships?|