Choosing a college is a big decision and one that will affect your entire educational experience. There are many choices to contemplate, and there are also some tried-and-true ideas for making the right choice of school for your future. Here are some things to consider as you make this big decision.
Size matters, but not the way you think
A lot of people go into their college hunt thinking that college has to be bigger than their high school was in order to be good. In fact, the bigger the better, right? Actually, there are many excellent liberal arts colleges out there and good reasons to choose them.
When you have a smaller college, whether you attend in person or online, you are dealing with a more closely knit community. Teachers have more time and energy to invest in students, classmates get to know each other through online forums or in the classroom, and you have a chance to really explore who you are.
In fact, there are so many advantages to having a small-college experience that many of the biggest universities are now dividing themselves into smaller honors colleges to get that the small-school experience.
You should be in charge of your schedule
Getting an education shouldn’t put you in such an enormous financial hole that you can’t dig yourself out for decades. In fact, your education should put you on track to career advancement and professional certifications that translate into real-world benefits.
One way to keep costs low is to study on your schedule, online, while you continue at your current job. No matter how busy you are, you have time to fit in a class if you find a school willing to work with you to build your schedule.
At Excelsior College, you can choose from courses that are offered every two months and at times that fit your schedule. Your studies should fit around you. When they do, you can pursue your degree while keeping your work and family life in perfect balance.
Credit comes in many forms
Another way of keeping costs low is getting credit wherever you deserve it. Some schools will only give you credit for specific (and usually expensive) college courses. Instead, look for a school that will give you credit for courses you’ve studied and also from college-level exams and professional certifications. Excelsior College is notorious for its generous college transfer policy. Some students make their final enrollment decision on this aspect alone.
Some exams that should get you credit include AP exams, IT certification exams, DSST exams, and CLEP exams, among others. When you study with Excelsior College, you are working with a school that’s committed to applying every credit you’re due to make the most of all your learning experiences.
In fact, you can even take exams through the college directly in a variety of subject areas. When you pass the exams, you receive credit for knowledge and skills you’ve earned, even if you didn’t take a college course to get them.
Choose someone who will work with you
Perhaps the most important piece of advice as you choose the right college for you is to pick a place that works with you. You need a school with excellent support resources, starting with academic advisors and career counselors who are ready to help you choose the right program and plan out your goals.
You also want a school with involved instructors, a strong network of peers, and people available whenever you need them to address your academic concerns and help you develop the plans you need for success.
A school’s support network is as crucial as its academic standing or accreditation. Feel out a school by the way they respond to your first call and then look for a place like Excelsior College, where staff and faculty are wholly committed to your academic and career success.