College options

Overview

Whether it is to grow your income potential, learn a specific set of skills, or broadening your horizons, a college degree can make a major impact on your future. Figuring out what motivates you to go to college and where you see yourself afterward can help you narrow down what kind of school you're looking for. There are a few first steps students can take in determining which school is a good match:

Career Goals

  • The Career Evaluation Worksheet can help students think about and keep track of their career goals.
  • If students have a specific career or group of careers that they are passionate about, it will be important that the schools they look into have programs that support their career goals.

Cost Analysis

  • Students' ability to pay for higher education will vary from student-to-student. Scholarships, grants, and tuition waivers are all ways to help reduce the cost to students.
  • FAFSA4caster: estimate the amount of federal aid a student may receive and what the government expects the student to pay out of pocket for a chosen college

School Values & Campus Culture

  • The College Evaluation Worksheet helps students "score" a college based on the factors they deem most important. Some students may be looking for academic prestige while others may highly value tight-knit student communities or research opportunities. Some students may look for a familiar environment, while others may want a new experience.
  • Visiting schools or speaking to multiple students and staff from the school can help students get a better idea of the campus environment. College fair events and on-campus preview days can be found on the Volunteer Calendar.
  • Don't rely solely on a school's ranking on a list or its selectivity rate as a confirmation of its quality.
  • Colleges' admissions websites are typically the best place to find out information about the school, their admissions requirements, and the overall personality of the institution.
  • Students should prepare questions to ask during their campus visit. They can ask students, professors, or staff and get different viewpoints on the school.

Online Tools

These are some of the most common tools volunteers and students use to discover colleges, complete career assessments, and organize their accomplishments:

College "Personality Quizzes"

Many sites have quizzes to help students identify schools that match their interests. These are not scientifically-tested assessments, but they can be a fun launching point for figuring out what a student is looking for in school: