Choosing the Right College for You: Where to Start Your College Search
Preparation is key when choosing the right college for you, so once you’ve finished all the necessary prep work – identifying your goals, what you want to study, etc. – you’ll be ready to take the next step and start narrowing your list of schools.
Online or Traditional?
Assuming you’ve made a list of schools that offer the degree program you’re looking for, you’ll want to use all of the answers from your prep work to decide whether you’ll be attending an online or traditional college. If your schedule has you working 9-to-5 weekdays with family obligations in the early evening, you probably know that an online university is a better fit for your lifestyle. Use Ashford University’s “How to Choose the Right College For You” guide to help paint a bigger picture of your priorities and what’s possible when it comes to your college experience.
The College Board
One of the most convenient online sites to help you find your school is Big Future by The College Board. Though it is primarily geared toward students coming out of high school, as opposed to adult learners, you can use the filters available to get closer to your final answer. The site also offers tips on college interviews, application essays, and what to do after you’ve made your choice.
Online College Search
Depending on the answers you found in your prep work, you may not have much to do besides a simple online search. Remember, you’re trying to choose the school that best fits your goals, so try searching for schools using additional keywords such as “flexible,” or “transferring credits,” or “military benefits.” Use as many keywords as you’d like to come up with a short list of schools that meet your needs and from those you should be able to gather basic facts about the degrees they offer, cost of tuition, etc.
If you’ve done the prep work, this final search should be a lot easier. When you finally have your short list of schools, you should reach out to each of them for a conversation. Find out if you’re eligible for grants, scholarships, or other benefits. Check the school’s accreditation to ensure it meets the requirements for academic quality. If you have previous college credits, ask about their transferring policy. All of these questions and more can be found in Ashford University’s “How to Choose the Right College For You” guide.
Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.