Students and parents should consider some of these obvious and not so obvious tips on making that final college choice decision. Students should look at the financial aid packages the school offers and housing fees. What is the actual cost? Other expenses beyond tuition should be considered. The price can include:
- Lab fees
- Fees to add and drop classes
- Transportation home
- Technology cost
- Car expenses
- Security deposits
The increases in tuition cost from year to year should be considered. Parents and students should look at the past three years’ tuition cost. It is important to make sure the college offers the program that they want, also how many students actually graduate in four years. What is the reputation of the desired program?
Career planning services should be looked at also. Does the college offer an internship program for students? Students should look at how many graduates actually find jobs in their field. Retention rate is another thing to be considered.
Campus life is an obvious thing to be considered. What student organizations are on campus? What meal options are available? Is a car needed?
Is the prospective college safe? Does the campus have emergency call boxes, campus escorts, shuttle services and ID checks? Is the campus well-lit at night?
Students should use their personal network: counselor, family members, and friends to find someone who has attended their prospective college and ask about their experiences and impressions.
The college choice decision should be made by the end of April. Most colleges required the first deposit by May 1st to hold the student’s spot at their prospective college.