Choosing a College: Easy As 1-2-3
Friday, March 19, 2010
The college acceptance letters have arrived. Now comes the hard part: Which school should you choose?
Tom Weede, vice president of enrollment management at Butler University in Indianapolis, said it’s difficult for many students to make an objective choice. He offers these tips to help students make the smartest decision:
1) Make sure you’ve visited all the choices, and consider visiting again if it’s been a while. Many schools offer a day shadowing a student. Take advantage of that, if possible. Take a class with them, have a meal with them, talk to a professor in your area of study, find out what internships are available and where recent graduates are working. Look at the school in more depth. “It gives you a real feel for what’s going on,” Weede said.
2) Compare the financial aid awards. It’s important to evaluate awards on the same level. Just because you get more money from one school doesn’t mean it will be the most affordable. And scholarships and grants, which you don’t have to repay, are worth more than loans.
“You want to get the best possible idea of what the full cost will be,” Weede said. “Look carefully at the overall costs – room and board, tuition and fees.” Also consider travel costs, he said. If you’re going to school 1,000 miles away from home, your costs will be higher than if you’re going an hour away. And don’t just choose the lowest cost; choose the one that will be the highest value to you.
3) Don’t ignore your heart. You’re probably going to end up learning better at the school you like best because you enjoy being there, Weede said. It may be the activities offered, it may be the kinds of students they have. Whatever the reason, students should choose the place where they’re most comfortable and feel they’re most likely to succeed.
“Students apply to colleges for specific, factual reasons they can identify: The school has the program, the size, the reputation, the kind of students I want to be around,” Weede said. “But then students enroll in a college for emotional reasons they often can’t specifically identify. What it often comes down to is often: I liked it better.”
Tom Weede joined Butler University in May 2007 as vice president for enrollment management. Previously, he served as the chief admission officer at Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., and Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C. He also worked at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis. To schedule an interview with Tom Weede, contact Marc Allan, (317) 940-9822 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To find other Butler University experts, visit http://www.butler.edu/experts/.
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