What a Difference the Right College Makes

While college bound students are polishing off their essays and resumes for college applications, it’s a good time for parents to look below the surface at the schools your child is applying to.  Choosing the “best fit” college for your student’s academic and social needs, can mean the difference between a smooth transition and a successful college career or a failure to thrive and lost motivation to stay in school.

Here are some factors I’ve found helpful to consider:

  • Research each school’s credentials and accreditations for academic programs and majors
  • Research the academic strength & ratings of majors related to your child’s interests. A school may have a good general reputation, but if it is not strong in your subject it could be the wrong choice for you
  • Review required curriculum together with your student BEFORE applying
  • Compare your child’s learning style and degree of self-directedness to that of the school’s teaching methodology and academic rigor
  • Review school requirements for changing majors – many schools now admit students by major, & require reapplying in order to change majors. More now require choosing a major or subject concentration sophomore year
  • Every school has a different culture and it should fit with your child’s sensibilities. Take time to research campus culture, type of student body, sports, music, and clubs by visiting schools, reading blogs, Princeton Review data, and student reviews in Fiske College Guide to Colleges, collegeprowler.com, collegeconfidential.com, and unigo.com
  • Ask about Career Services support in finding internships, career counseling, & part-time employment. Surprisingly, many schools have little or no support in this area.  Ask about academic and personal support resources as well.

We all want our children to succeed in the school they attend, to stay in school and to graduate with a degree that will prepare them for a career they’re excited about.  You’re in the home stretch, and if you haven’t discussed details of academic, extracurricular and career objectives with your son or daughter, now’s the time.

Help make the right choice for your student’s education. Please share your comments or questions about your experiences in researching and  deciding what the best fit schools for you or your student.

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3 Responses to What a Difference the Right College Makes

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