How Does A Student Decide Which University to Attend?
As students are trying to sift through their admissions offers, trying to decide which university to commit to comes into sharp focus. Even though students applied to these universities after having done the initial research about the universities, their programs, the social scene, and other relevant factors, students will need to revisit their research or start anew before they decide which university’s offer of admission they will accept. It is important that before students commit, they reevaluate all of the schools on their list to determine which university is the “right fit” for them.
Students should create spreadsheets to compare the schools on their list and insert data regarding each university.
–Did you get into the major you applied for? Do you understand what the core requirements of the major are? The electives? How are students graded?
–Have you examined other options at the school? Have you considered other majors and minors you may be interested in pursuing?
–How easy is it to switch majors?
–Does the university have GE requirements for students?
–Look at class sizes, access to professors, research opportunities
–What types of academic supports are offered to students?
–Are there any other opportunities like study abroad you want to pursue?
–Does the university help students get internships? Or are students expected to find internships on their own?
–Does the school where your major is housed have its own career services staff?
–Does the university host recruitment events? How often? Which companies come?
–How active is the alumni network? Are they a source of internships or job opportunities?
–What percentage of students are employed or in graduate school after graduation?
–Does the size of the school matter?
–What about location? Rural, urban, campus town?
–How easy is it for you to travel (during all seasons)? Can family visit you? Cost a factor?
–What activities do you want to participate in while you are at university? Sports? Other activities?
–What does dorm life on campus look like?
–Party school? Greek life?
–Do you feel like you fit in?
–Have you closely examined your financial aid packages at the universities on your list? Do you understand what you have received?
–Do you understand the difference between grants, merit scholarships, loans, and work study?
–Did you calculate how many hours you will have to work to get your work study grant?
–Do you have a financial gap between what your family can afford and what you have been provided at this university?
–If you have been given a package that includes loans, how much will you end up borrowing before you graduate from this university?
–Do you know what students in your major earn when they graduate?
–What will your repayment of the loans look like on a monthly basis once you graduate? Does that look like a reasonable amount?
–Did you get any scholarships? Is it for one year or all four years? What are the conditions for renewal?
–If you got one-year scholarships, how will you replace that amount in the future years?
–Did your financial situation change since the tax year that formed the basis of the FAFSA? Have you contacted the financial aid offices?
–Does the financial aid package include Parent Plus Loans? Do in-depth research into these loans, repayment terms, the interest rate, what happens if you default, and how much you will ultimately end up repaying.
Students should attend, in-person or virtually, the admitted student events, reach out to current students, and learn more about the university through various sources before they finally decide which university they plan to attend in the fall. It is important that students find the university where they will thrive for the next four years.
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