Applying to colleges today is more challenging than ever because of pandemic restrictions and increased use of online (remote) learning. It has changed the way how academic curriculums are approached. It also affects the way future students explore available choices. The trick is to ask yourself a list of questions that will help determine the best options. Think about more than one institution, and always take your time to read testimonials and compare learning objectives to your personal goals.
8 Questions to Consider Before Applying to Colleges
- Does my college provide online classes?
Since the future with Covid-19 still remains uncertain, many schools these days implement remote or online learning. Make sure to ask yourself whether your preferred college provides sufficient learning resources for this situation. Also, check various schedules and flexibility to see how it fits your vision, since it may be far from what you anticipate.
- Affordable or the best option?
Choosing something that you can afford may sound good, yet always aim for those institutions that can help you build a successful career and meet your aspirations. Of course, the most challenging part is getting enrolled, but do not forget that even places like MIT and Berkeley offer special scholarships and options for gifted students based on academic merits.
- Does it provide networking options?
The years of social distancing have forced many college students to change the ways they interact, which is why exploring networking opportunities at your college is vital these days. It is not only important for group projects or school debates, but also for making new friends and building career connections. Some colleges host various video conferences while others create student support groups online.
- What are curriculum benefits?
Take your time to study each aspect of curriculum options and additional courses that you may take. If something sounds unclear, ask questions and contact each college in question. The chances are high that there may be additional adjustments. See if there are practical and lab works (for engineering or biology degrees). Seek innovative methods and check the list of guest lecturers.
- Are there opportunities for research work?
It is one of the most important aspects because some colleges provide unique chances for research projects by offering all kinds of support and guidance regarding the publishing of research papers in relevant academic journals. As a rule, even community colleges do that if they have research lab facilities and a list of good connections in the field regarding published works. Starting with your college research will help you to manage your career differently and even improve your chances of graduating earlier.
- Do I know the entry requirements?
Without a doubt, the most difficult part is getting enrolled. It should start with a detailed study of existing entry requirements. If you are not sure about what some part means, don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation with examples. Even if admission officers may be unwilling to offer assistance, be persistent. Don’t fill in anything until you truly know every bit of information. The same relates to the rules of writing a personal statement where any minor mistake can easily lead to failure.
- Does it provide options for foreign or exchange studies?
If you are planning to major in Fashion Studies and Design, consider checking international schools like École Nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts or any other college based on your needs. When in doubt, see translation companies online that can provide you with immediate help regarding personal statement adjustment or finding more about enrollment options. Studying abroad will also expand your cultural outlook.
- Are there any alternatives?
Once you have at least one college that you would like to join, consider finding competitive alternatives and compare them to determine the cons and pros of your choice. See what opportunities each institution provides and check campus benefits, including social entertainment options.
Home vs Boarding Matters
Another important aspect that must be mentioned is boarding, which may not always be the best option if you can live at home or share an apartment with your friends. Also in-state vs out-of-state tuition prices will always differ and might influence your final decision. Ask yourself about what additional features like state scholarships or financial support you may receive by choosing this or that institution. Talk to your parents and friends, check each price, and remember that living at home these days might be a safer option.
Most importantly, take your time to explore available options and never give up your dreams because applying to college is not just deciding on education. You are going to spend at least two years of your life meeting new people and striving for the best academic results.