What to Consider to Find the Right College For You

By Todd Johnson

In trying to decide what type of college will best meet your wants and needs there are many things to consider. Listed below are some of the factors you will need to consider in deciding where you want to go to college.

Type of institution- Private or Public. College or University. Church sponsored.

Colleges can be either public or private. Public colleges are those that are supported by the state in which they are located. Many highly ranked colleges in the United States are state-supported institutions. These colleges can often provide an excellent education at a price for an in-state resident that is much less than comparable private colleges. At the early stages of your investigation, I would encourage you to consider both private and public colleges.

While private colleges frequently cost more than comparable state institutions, they often have the financial means to offer generous need-based or scholarship-based financial aid. This aid can make the cost of a private college the same or less than attending your state college.

Many of the more selective private universities and colleges have a religious affiliation. The extent of spiritual influence varies. But at the beginning of your college search, we strongly encourage you to investigate all private colleges, regardless of religious affiliation.

Academics- What courses and majors are you looking for

The most important reason for going to college is to get an education. The type of academic atmosphere and variety of courses studied is an important factor to be considered when choosing a college. Be careful, however, of choosing a college based solely on it having a particular major or field of study. Research shows that 90% of all college graduates do not major in the field of study they originally had intended. This happens for several reasons.

First, most colleges have majors in subjects you have never before studied such as political science or anthropology. Second, as you gain experience and maturity in college, your interests may change. Take time to explore your options and be realistic about your talents. Be sure to pursue a course of study that is of genuine interest to you, not just one you think might lead to a good career.

If you do have a strong interest in a particular area, such as science, it is important to evaluate a college’s facilities and offerings in those areas to make sure they have adequate resources. Remember that many smaller colleges may not offer majors in certain professional fields, such as engineering, business, or physical therapy. If you are certain of a specific field of study, be sure that the colleges and universities you are considering offer that major.

Don’t exclude a smaller college, however, simply because you think the resources may be inadequate. Remember that all of the resources of a college are available to its undergraduate students whereas at a large university, many of the specialized equipment might be reserved for graduate students only. Some of the largest producers of PhD’s in this country are small colleges.

Atmosphere- Liberal, conservative or something in between

Each college has a particular “feel”. Many factors go into creating the feel of that college’s including the responsibility the administration of the college allows the students, the competitiveness of the students with each other and the students involvement in social concerns.

Every campus will have a different feel. What is important is to determine if the campus atmosphere will be comfortable for you as a person. The best advice regarding student life is to look for an intellectual and social climate in which you will feel comfortable and challenged.

There is no substitute to visiting the college to discovery how any college feels. By talking to students, professors and administration on a campus, students can gain a better feel for that college’s culture. Also, look around as you are on the campus. What activities are putting posters up, and what are people talking about? These are just a few of the issues to look at in understanding the feel of each college

Student body and gender- Co-ed college or single sex

While most campuses now are coed there are still some all women colleges available for students to consider. The women’s colleges can be an excellent choice for the right student as they often offer not only strong academics but also strong support for women that might be lacking in similar coed colleges. And lest you fear that you will be living in a convent, almost all women’s colleges now have some sort of relationship with coed schools so men will be around even in an all women’s college.

Setting- Where do you want to live

The physical environment of the college may be very important to you. Some people prefer the variety of activities offered by a large city. However, a large city requires certain adjustments that not everyone will be comfortable with. For instance, an inner city college will often not have the classic college campus look. Rather, it will consist of high rise classes rooms and dorms.

Others want to go to college in a more rural setting. These more rural campuses will often have the classic ivy covered buildings with beautiful scenery in all directions. But the excitement of a large city will be missing from such a campus and for those students seeking big time athletics or popular concert venues may not be comfortable in such a setting. The decision of a location and campus setting comes down to the question of where you would like to spend the next four years living.

Size- Large university or small college

The following are generalizations, so if some of these areas are of concern, ask questions at the colleges you are considering:

A large university (15,000-50,000+ students) may offer a variety of academic opportunities including elaborate facilities and large libraries, as well as the stimulation of a large faculty, graduate students and undergraduates. However, housing may be more difficult to obtain, more courses may be taught by graduate students, lecture sessions may be very large, and opportunities for leadership in campus organizations may be diminished.

A medium-sized university (5,000-15,000 students) may offer fewer majors and more modest facilities than a large university, but also may offer greater opportunities to participate in the activities of your choice.

Small colleges (under 5,000 students) usually offer smaller classes, earlier opportunities to take classes with well-known professors, and more chances for participation and leadership in campus activities. However, facilities and classes may be limited and options for activities and diversity reduced.

Location- Where do you want to spend the next 4 years

When considering the possible locations of your future colleges, consider questions such as:

How important is it for me to attend college close to home?

How much do I value attending college with students of different geographic backgrounds?

How frequently do I anticipate going home during the academic year?

How extensively does the weather affect my studies or quality of life?

Consider whether you would prefer a geographically diverse student body, or a regional community of students from more homogeneous backgrounds.

Campus life- What happens on campus when people aren’t in class

Whether you enjoy your college years will often depend on the experience of living on a college campus. Learning in college comes not only from your class work but also through interacting with your college friends, extracurricular activities, and just hanging out in the dorm. Here are some factors that can affect your college experience.

Housing Living on-campus for the first few years of their college experience is important for many students. Dormitories can become a focus of college campus life and the easiest way to meet new friends. If it is an important consideration for you, remember to ask any college in which you are interested about the availability of on-campus housing for all four years. Some colleges only have enough housing for the first year or two of the college experience.

Extracurricular activities The extracurricular activities you engage in are not only fun but can be part of your learning experience. Look at the view books of the colleges to see what activities are available. Talk to people at the colleges you are considering to find out what activities are popular on that campus. Many colleges have 100 or more groups for students with a variety of interests. Also ask about how easy it is to start a new group if you have a particular interest not currently represented on the campus.

Fraternities and Sororities The presence of a Greek system can have a dramatic effect on campus life. Ask people on campus about how the fraternities and sororities affect the social life of any college in which you are interested. Do they dominate the social scene or is it spread between many different groups? Can anyone go to a Greek party or are the limited only to certain students?

Campus Employment Many students will hold a part-time job on or off campus while enrolled full time in college. Talk to current students about the availability of jobs and what types of jobs students typically get. With budget cutbacks, some colleges are starting to limit the number of jobs available to students on campus. If you need to have a job but have to seek one off campus, think about the time involved in getting to such a job and the additional costs of transportation.

Athletics- Are big time athletics important to you.

Many students who engage in high college athletics may want to continue to play that sport in college. College students participate at three levels: intramural, club, and intercollegiate. Intramural play is most common. Intramurals allow students to compete at a variety of different levels of competition with a primary emphasis on enjoying the sport for personal fitness, relaxation, and fun. Club sport teams are usually jointly sponsored by students and the college, and may compete against other colleges’ club teams.

Intercollegiate athletics is the university equivalent of varsity-level sports. These programs are categorized by the NCAA into three divisions of varying degrees of competition: Division I, Division II, and Division III.

Selectivity- How hard is it to get into a college.

Your academic performance in a challenging, rigorous program of study is the most important factor in determining your admissibility to colleges. Admission committees value a consistent level of achievement over four years, but they also give strong weight to students who demonstrate significant improvement over the course of their academic career. While your grades are the most obvious indication of potential future success, colleges also want to see that students have challenged themselves in a competitive, demanding academic program throughout their entire high college career. The more honor and AP courses you are able to take successfully, the stronger candidate you will be. Does that mean that you should take AP courses even if the material if too difficult for you? No. But most admission committees will give more weight to a B in an AP course than an A in a much simpler course.

Standardized testing also plays a critical role in admissions. Virtually all colleges will accept either the SAT I or the ACT. Many of the highly selective colleges also require or recommend SAT II subject test. The most important thing to keep in mind for each of the colleges you are considering is their ‘middle 50%’ range of testing. While a quarter of admitted students have scores either above or below this test range, such a median range will give a general indication of the strength of the applicant pool and how you compare.

After looking at your academic performance and your test scores, most selective colleges will then look at subjective factors such as your recommendations, your essays and your extracurricular activities. The amount of weight given to these subjective factors varies from college to college.

Financial aid- If I do get in, how am I going to pay for the college.

Financial aid may consist of grants or scholarships, loans and work study. Grants and scholarships are money that does not need to be repaid while loans need to be repaid. Work study is generally a job offered on the campus of the college offering the financial aid although it may also be a job off campus.

There are two basic types of financial aid; need based aid and merit based aid. Need based aid is given by all colleges to students who have need. Anyone who can’t pay the full cost of the college has need.

A form called the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) determines the amount of need for federal grants and scholarships. Many highly selective colleges also require a form known as the Profile form The FAFSA form is filled out after January 1 of the year the student will first attend college.

Merit-based aid includes scholarships typically for students who have good grades or have some other special talent such as athletic or musical talent. Most highly selective colleges offer little or no merit-based aid.

In looking at colleges you should ignore the cost of the college. Yes, you read that right. Ignore the stated cost of the college when you are first deciding which colleges to investigate further. Many of the most expensive private colleges meet 100% of the students need while cheaper public colleges usually meet less than 100% of the need. This means that for many students it can be cheaper to go to an expensive private college than to attend a cheaper state school. Until you know what percent of need the college meets, don’t eliminate a college from consideration just because it is expensive.

Todd Johnson, a lawyer and college consultant, is the principal college admission consultant for College Admissions Partners. Todd provides personalized service to help students and families through the complete college admissions and financial aid process. He can be reached through the website College Admissions Partners

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Who Should Use College Career Counseling?

By Alfred Ardis

College career counseling services are available for a wide range of people. This type of service aids in helping individuals who are ready to start their futures to make that first step. It may seem like being fresh out of school with your degree in your hand makes you a very good candidate for a job opening. The problem is that many students are dealing with complexities right now. There are many experienced professionals available for jobs. Students are pushed to the background. These services can often provide you with the help you need to make a successful transition.

Juniors in School

One of the best times to begin using college career counseling services is when you are still in school. Some companies recommend that you begin working with these organizations at this age because it is the best possible time to enable you to fine tune your degree and start out fresh. At this point, you are going to be able to make key decisions about what you want to do, but if you need a class to round out your skills or you need to apply for an internship, these companies can help you to know that.

Young Adults

Once you leave school, you are ready to work. That is another good time to call on this type of service. The company will work with you to determine what you need to do to get into the job that you want. Will this entry position be a good move for you or should you hold out for a different company or opportunity? Making decisions about where you will work as your first career job can be hard. That’s why having these professionals by your side to help you can be so important.

Developing Your Career

Perhaps you have been out of school for a year or two and you need help. You may be in a job and want to move into a different area or field. When it comes to making moves right now as you are just developing your path, the process can be hard. You need to know what steps you need to take to be successful. This may include doing things like prepping resumes and getting advice on which courses you may need to take if you are moving into a new field.

When it comes to college career counseling, there are many services available that can help you to make the move successfully. The key thing to remember here is that careers change throughout a person’s life. With help, you can make the move successfully and find yourself well on the way to achieving your goals.

If you are thinking of heading into a new career after school, you may benefit from the services of a college career counseling center. To learn more about all the ways that they can help you to prepare, visit the following: http://earlycareerlaunch.com.

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Top Resources At College Career Centers

By Gavin F Redelman

Few students realize what a valuable resource they have on college campuses through their career center or career services office. Students can talk to trained professionals on career development and support services. Here are some of the many resources you can find at your college career office. Some career centers will schedule workshops and lectures on these topics, or you can request to meet individually with a career counselor. Every center offers different services so be sure to go into your center to find out about what they offer.

Get help deciding on a major: many students are interested in learning more about specific majors and what types of careers they can lead to. Some career centers schedule workshops or talks about what you can do with a major in different subjects.

Explore career paths: receive helpful information and resources about different types of careers and the steps you need to get there.

Meet one-on-one with career counselors who are trained to guide you as you explore careers and work-related issues to prepare for your future.

Use computer assessment tools to evaluate your own interests and values as it relates to a career and some possible fields you might want to consider.

Participate and learn how to conduct informational interviews and job shadow with professionals in a career of interest to you. Some schools may have partnerships with alumni or professionals in the community who are willing to meet with students to talk about their career and show them what their job entails.

Find graduate internships with companies in which you have a strong career interest. Some schools have established summer or semester-long internship programs that you can participate in, while others can help you locate suitable internship placements.

Participate in mock interview sessions at the career center and gain valuable feedback about your interviewing style, strengths and weaknesses. The more you practice interviewing, the more confident and comfortable you’ll be when you go for real job interviews.

Learn about on-campus recruiting and career fairs with companies interested in hiring new grads. You can usually get a list of companies scheduled to attend these events so you can prepare and/or schedule an interview ahead of time.

Attend graduate school information sessions with representatives from different programs you might be interested in. You can also gain information about searching and applying for graduate and professional programs.

Learn about the best job searching tools for the types of jobs you’re looking for. There are so many job databases and websites to look at for job openings so it can be helpful to learn about some resources you might not know about as well as different techniques to help you during your job search.

Learn about networking tools and alumni clubs in different areas. Your school may offer ongoing career support for alumni and networking groups in different cities and industries.

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Finding the Right College Career Advisor

By Andrew Stratton

Choosing the right college career advisor is an important decision. Even if you choose to work with an established company, you still want to find a person that has specific insight into where you want to head and what you need to do to get there. If possible, take some time to meet with the professional in advance and bring along a few questions that will help you decide if this is the person that you want helping you plan out your future.

Experience in the Industry

There are some people that do a great job as a college career advisor. They have plenty of information on how to get into the workforce, how to create a good resume, and even how to set up a perfect interview. However, if you are looking to begin work in a specific industry, there may be things that set this job apart from some of the others. You need someone that has worked in the industry in the past or currently holds down a job in a similar field.

This college career advisor will be able to tell you exactly how the workforce is currently doing, what other applicants are doing to set themselves apart from the others, and what steps you can take to get a head start. A teacher may not understand what it takes to work in the field of engineering, for example. Your goal should be to find someone that has something specific to offer you.

A Successful Reputation

You want to learn from the best and your college career advisor should be someone that has found success in his or her current industry. This is the type of person that will be able to provide you with advice. You want to follow in the footsteps of the best. At the initial consultation, don’t be afraid to ask the professional about his or herself. You need to know where the job has taken this person and consider whether or not this is the same path that you want to follow. The more information that you have about this person’s professional life, the better.

Someone to Relate to

Even if a person has a lot of experience in the industry and is at the top of his or her field, if you cannot relate or communicate with this person, there is a good chance that this is not the college career advisor for you. You are going to be spending considerable time with this person learning about how to put together a resume and cover letter or discussing which types of internships and programs will best suit you and your future plans. If you cannot work with this person and keep things moving in a positive way, it may be time to look elsewhere.

A college career advisor from http://earlycareerlaunch.com can assist you in a number of ways.

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College Career Counseling – Assistance Planning for the Future

By Andrew Stratton

It is never too early to start looking into college career counseling. While most programs begin around a person’s junior year of post-secondary education, with the uncertainty of the future job market and financial concerns, students can benefit from an early start on planning for the future.

Consultation

College career counseling starts with an initial consultation. Professionals meet face to face with a student to learn more about his or her background and future goals. Before the meeting, a questionnaire is completed with basic information about the student including current area of study, work experience, and outside activities and associations. The information on this document will drive the first meeting.

During the consultation, the student will learn more about the given field and what it takes to become more marketable when the time comes to apply for a job. There are always going to be multiple people applying for any given job and the applicant needs to understand how to set him or herself apart from everyone else. While general topics are discussed, many students sign up to continue to college career counseling.

Different Services Offered

Once a student has signed up for college career counseling, he or she benefits from regular meetings with a professional. These meetings can continue to be face to face or if necessary, over the phone or even online with the help of programs like Skype. Different topics are covered, including assistance creating a resume and self-evaluation for students at different increments in their academic experience. Each meeting provides beneficial information to students looking to get ahead in the competitive job market.

By providing direct assistance and giving clients the tools to make their own improvements along the way, college career counseling can make a real difference in a person’s future. There is no doubt that with the help of a professional, a person can gain insight into the road that lies ahead, and make those important decisions that set them on the right path.

Making the Investment

These services do come at a cost, however, but many potential clients look at them as an investment into their future. Just like going to school and gaining a education gives a graduate an edge over other job applicants, working with a professional in the student’s specific field and gaining valuable information along the way helps. Goal setting and planning encourages the client to look ahead and keep focused on the future.

If you are a junior in post-secondary education and want to learn more about where you are headed, set up a consultation with a local company that provides services to students looking to plan out their future. Even if you aren’t sure what you want to do, this is a great place to start.

If you would like to advance your job opportunities after school, consider signing up for college career counseling. Visit http://earlycareerlaunch.com for more information.

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2 Major Aspects Of College Career Planning

By Abhishek Agarwal

There are two main parts of process for college career planning. One is own evaluation and self-study and the other part brings in career planning methods and formal programs from universities and private companies.

Firstly, one should take some kind of evaluation test that can guide to identify personal interest, skills and values. One main aspect in the process of career planning is identifying the person and his personality traits fitting with the college and career path.

While going through this part of the process which is more on personal level, one should start looking at colleges by location, financial implications etc. During this period, pupils and teachers can assist identifying which main subjects you are best at the School and then how they can help in choosing a career. This also is the period to write your resume, list out activities, hobbies etc. to utilise in personal portfolio. You can also make use of internet which has become a boon during the last few decades. Internet has a lot to offer for those looking out for college of career planning.

Then the next comes that part of the process where individual decides which career or college will utilise one’s strongest skills, expertise, interests and values. One can get easily overpowered by the information revealed in college career planning. With concentrating on particular interest areas as well as questions, the search will become somewhat simpler.

On focusing attention on some very good earlier programs of both private firms and universities will help to reduce the choices. Young people can also utilise a formal method to help with college career planning. These methods range form interest testing to assessment of skills as well as personality analysis and academic searches.

Some universities also have their own college career planning programmes. Such university plans can have exhaustive information and evaluation material specially designed for student selecting path from a college-to-career. This can be very good activity for new graduates from high school and community college. Some of these methods that can be sent to the one for utilising at home. Some companies have their program as web-based, interactive system. Most have one goal of assisting the applicant or the person seeking a job get a good post as part of a college career planning effort.

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College Career Planning – Discover How To Make Productive Use Of Valuable Available Resources

By John Groth

College career planning comes in two parts. First, you engage in individual assessment of interests and abilities along with self-study. Second, are more formal programs and career planning systems from colleges, universities and some private companies.

One of the things that you can do to get started is take an assessment test that can help identify personal interests, values and skills. One key element in the college career planning process is determining just who the person is and what personality traits fit with which college and career paths.

While you engage in this more personal part of the process, along with friends and family, you should begin to look at certain colleges by location, cost and so on. During this time, students and teachers can help clarify which majors are strong at the school and how those majors may lead into careers in the working world. Some basic research into a particular career is usually productive. If possible interview several people now working in the desired career. What do they like or dislike about the career? Their assessment of future prospects would also be helpful.

Using the Internet is a great idea, and one that has grown in popularity over the past few years. The Internet offers a lot of resources for those involved in college career planning.

Then comes a second part of the process, in which the individual determines which college/career path will allow use of the skills, abilities, interests and values that are strongest. The amount of information uncovered in college career planning can overwhelm the first-time searcher. But with a focus on certain questions and areas of interest, the search can become a bit easier.

Helping to narrow the choices and focus attention are some excellent formal programs offered by both private companies and universities. Young job seekers often make use of a formal system to assist with college career planning. These systems range from skill assessment and interest testing to personality analysis and education searches.

A university may also offer its own college career planning program. The university plans may have extensive information and assessment material designed for those choosing a college-to-career path. These can be an excellent activity for recent high school graduates and community college graduates.

Some of these assessment systems can be shipped to you for use at home. Other companies offer their program as a Web-based, interactive system. Most, if not all, have one goal – helping you find a rewarding position as part of a continuous college career planning effort.

With the wealth of information available, it is usually productive to keep all your career options open as you move through the learning and formal educational process. Summer jobs and internships in your chosen field will help in your decision-making. As in anything the more choices you have the more likely you will make a wise longer term career decision.

John Groth is a former HR executive and career coach. At his web site find Career Planning Ideas and valuable articles (valuable even though you’re not yet 50). Discover up to date career and recruitment strategies at our career training guide all to assist you in advancing and managing your career.

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A College Career Advisor Not Just a Counselor

By Andrew Stratton

A college career advisor is the best person to turn to in your early years after getting out of school. In fact, you should start working with these professionals as soon as your junior year. Why do so? Instead of turning to your guidance counselor or advisors on the campus, look for someone who has the time and experience to help you specifically. Do you really think your guidance counselor has enough time to dedicate to hundreds of students? Your future is on the line here. Every decision you make matters. Don’t overlook the value of turning to a true professional.

It Is About You

The biggest reason to seek out a college career advisor is because it will provide you with an outstanding opportunity to focus on you and your future. A school counselor wants you to have the best possible opportunity to excel. There is no doubt about that. Yet, he or she has limited time to help you to accomplish these goals. That’s why you need to take into consideration all of your options right now. Working with someone who is going to spend time on you individually is a very good idea.

Industry Focused

Depending on whom you work with, you may find that these advisors simply have more to offer to you. They know the industry well. They have connections. They have the tools and resources to help you to connect to the job that you want to be in. Because of these connections, they also know what it is going to take for you to get into that position. It may not be possible to focus on this any other way. Take a few minutes to consider all of your options. Who is going to be able to help you to enter this field?

Job Focused

Whereas a school counselor is all about helping you to graduate with the right courses under your belt, college career advisor is working to help you to get into the real job you want to be in. Even if you are out of school by a year or two, these services may be available to you. They can help you to achieve your goals and get into the position you want to be in. They will help you to learn how to interview well. They will help you to create goals in a step-by-step fashion so you can, ultimately reach the position you want to be in.

A college career advisor is a resource like no other. With these tools and resources, you can finally get the job you want. You remain in control over your future.

If you’re looking for a college career advisor to help you find the right job, look no further than http://earlycareerlaunch.com for all of the necessary information.

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