Selecting a College
Finding a College That Fits
As you begin to think about applying to college, take time to think about who you are. Think about your goals, your likes and dislikes, your abilities and your resources.
Some Questions to Consider
Of the more than 2,000 American colleges and universities, no two are alike. Choosing the one that is just right for you requires research. This research must be done at two levels: externally and internally.
The external research can be done on the Internet, by reviewing catalogs, visiting the campus itself, or by talking to students who have attended the college in question. The internal questions you must ask are: What are my needs? What kind of college or university will satisfy those needs?
What size school would be best for me?
- Large universities often provide many academic, athletic, and social options for their diverse student populations.
- Small universities and community colleges typically offer a more intimate setting with smaller class sizes.
What kind of school would be best for me?
- Private schools may have high entrance standards and high tuition rates.
- Public schools generally offer lower tuition rates to in-state students.
Where do I want to go?
- You will attend college for at least 2 years, perhaps as many as 4 or more years. In what kind of setting are you most comfortable? Near a big city? In a small town? Close to home? Your comfort level will affect every aspect of your time in college. You can make a list with all these question and your answers to help you narrow your choices.
How difficult are the entrance requirements?
- Some schools have rigid entrance policies, while others are more flexible. Your task is to review the requirements of the schools that interest you and compare them to your high school record. Most of your applications should go to the schools whose requirements most closely match your record. However, a few applications to schools whose criteria you ‘just miss’ is recommended.
- We recommend that you take the SATs or ACTs because they are entrance requirements for most colleges and universities.
How much can I afford to spend?
- Even though the cost of a college education will repay itself many times over during your lifetime, you must start with a practical assessment of your resources: your family’s contribution, scholarships, grants, loans and part time work.
- One thing to keep in mind, there is a difference between the schools published, or “sticker” price and the net price that it will actually cost to attend. Every institution should have a net price calculator on it’s website. These use your potential financial aid awards and can show you what your net price will be. Sometimes colleges with higher sticker prices offer more financial aid and scholarships so they may be more affordable than you may think.
How do I choose a major?
- The choice of a major also, hinges upon your choice of a career. What kind of work do you want to do? Once you decide this, your major will effectively be chosen. Choosing a college then will be a matter of researching schools which offer programs in your chosen career. There are many websites that offer tools to help you select potential career options. Try exploring the following:
- Nevada STEMHub: https://www.stemhub.nv.gov
- Big Future: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/explore-careers
- O*Net: https://www.onetonline.org/
- BLS/Occupational Outlook Handbook: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Once you have an idea of the kind of college and/or program would fit you best, then you can begin a search to finding the perfect match to your wants and needs. Of course, there are many website to help you with this task as well. Try searching using these tools:
College Scorecard: https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/
College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
Be sure to check out the websites and catalogs and learn more about all the college and universities in Nevada.