Archive for the ‘College Search’ Category
As you begin (or continue to endure) the college search process, you’ll notice tons of statistics for each school you consider. One of these statistics is a graduation rate. A college’s graduation rate is the percentage of students who complete their degrees in the standard amount of time. According to a recent article about the rise and fall of graduation rates in The Chronicle of Higher Education, prospective students should not accept the graduation rate of a specific school at face value. In other words, your college journey is complex, so don’t give this rate too much weight when making your college decision.
There are certain factors that complicate the reliability of a school’s overall graduation rate. It’s important to understand that graduation rate statistics use 150% as “the standard amount of time” it takes a student to graduate. This translates to 6 years for a bachelor’s degree. It’s also becoming increasingly difficult for schools to collect data because so many students (about one third of the college population) transfer at least once and many switch majors at some point. Both of these factors produce statistics that might skew your view of a university’s ability to teach you what you need to know on time.
So, what can you do to make sense of that graduation rate number? According to The Chronicle article, figure out what your goals are as you enter college and look at graduation rates for your specific major. Ask yourself:
Is it really important to me that I graduate in a specific amount of time?
Is it possible to achieve my degree in only four years?
How long does it take for students in my major to complete their program?
Can I afford more than four years of schooling?
Am I set in stone attending this school or could I see myself transferring closer to/farther from home after freshman year?
Remember, the article mentions the unmeasurable factor of student intention. If you enter school with determination, drive, and devotion to learning, you will have no trouble graduating when you want to. However, set backs happen and should not completely discourage you! What is important for your career post-graduation is a degree. The knowledge and experiences you gain in college will benefit you for the rest of your life. If it takes a little longer than you expected to get there, that is okay.
If you are worried about paying for more school if you don’t graduate when you’d hoped, remember that you can find loads of scholarship opportunities on Cappex! Make your profile today to get started.
Throughout your college application process, utilizing your family can be a great way to ensure that you apply to, and pick, the perfect school. Family members know you very well, may have insightful thoughts on which schools you should consider, and can be great company on college campus tours. Although you may be ready to conquer the world on your own, listening to your family and working together will help the process run very smoothly. They’ve been in your shoes, and they know what to expect!
To Stay In State, or Not To Stay In State
You have a big decision to make here. When you start your selection process, consider the following: Do you want to be within driving distance from your family? Do you want to go far away? Is distance from home important to you? Or does it not matter how far it is, if it’s the right school? While some students find comfort in having family close by, others may see going to college as an opportunity to venture out fully on their own. Understanding what proximity you want to your family can help narrow down the list of which schools are the best options for you.
For students who live in states with good public universities, applying only to these colleges may seem like a smart option to parents who are helping pay tuition. Though it narrows down the range of your decision, talking through this idea with your family can ensure that you understand their point of view and the reasons they think it is a viable option for you both financially and academically. Parents may like the idea that you can get a great education at a lower cost, and this is something to consider when making your college decision.
Lets Hear It For The Alma Mater!
Did your parents meet in college? Is your sister always raving about how much she loves her school? Were you raised as a diehard college football fan? These schools are a great option for you, too!
College pride can run deep within families, and you may be encouraged to apply to the alma maters of your parents and siblings. These schools may seem desirable to you because of the great stories you’ve heard about them over the years. If they fit the criteria of what you want out of your college experience (research the different majors, student life, and campus culture when making this decision), it’s a great way to start a new family tradition. Many schools like the idea of creating a legacy within families, and having family members who are alumni will be noted on your application. Sharing college spirit with your family can keep you connected after you’ve moved away from home and give you something you can enjoy together. You’ll love walking around campus with your mom as she tells you all about her college experience thirty years ago, and she’ll love watching you have as great of a time as she did.
Need more help deciding on a college? Cappex has lots of information about schools to help you find the perfect college match.
School’s out for the summer! If you just finished up your junior year, you’ve only got one more to go before you head to college. Right now, there are two paths you can take:
Stressful Senior Year = “I didn’t plan ahead and now I have too much college stuff to worry about!”
Fun Senior Year = “I planned ahead and my college application process was so simple!”
You have the power to make either of these happen. I recommend Fun Senior Year, but that’s just me.
Planning ahead and getting started on your college application process before school starts again in the fall is easier than you think. A little time this summer can go a long way. Spending time preparing yourself for the actual applications will make your life less painful come senior year.
Information is POWER.
Checking out different schools’ applications will give you a good idea of what to expect when you start filling out your own. You’ll find there are a lot of similar questions and essay topics across the board. You may even realize that you have answers to some of these essay questions already! If not, take a few minutes each week to brainstorm what you could write about. Hint: the best essays do not happen overnight; they develop over time.
Think about how much time you spend online or scrolling through Facebook. Now, think about exchanging 15 of those aimless browsing minutes for a virtual tour of a college campus. You’ll notice features that you like and dislike, perks to certain schools, and more that will help you narrow down your college search.
Remember your teachers.
Who did you love? Who did you get along with well? Who believes in you? Making a list of any teacher you’d like to write a letter of recommendation for you will motivate you to ask them earlier, rather than last minute when they have stacks of student requests waiting.
Meet up with college friends.
Think of anyone you know who will be coming back home for the summer from their first year of college. They are seriously awesome sources of information about college life. They’ll be able to relate to you better than a book or website, and they’ll probably be more candid about the perks and downfalls of campuses and schools.
Bottom line? No amount of preparation is too much. Even the tiniest amount will be beneficial.
The other bottom line? Making a profile on Cappex today is a great way to prepare yourself for the college application process and find the perfect school for you!
To most high school juniors and seniors, a single-sex college is an ancient idea that needs only milliseconds to veto; however, there are some who might say, that it’s not such a bad idea. While single-sex colleges are an ancient idea, there are plenty of them still around along with plenty of women who swear by them! Before you immediately reject spending the next four years of homework, lectures, and meals with other women, consider why an all-girl institution might be your best college fit!
For the Value:
As you search for potential colleges, consider everything you want out of attending your institution. Do you want to graduate with connections to a job in the real world? Do you want to be the very best at your field of study? Do you want to become self-sufficient? Make new friends? Meet the person you want to marry? Take on a leadership role? Make changes to who you are? Discover new interests and talents? Perhaps you’re interested in pursuing a rare major an all-girls school happens to have. If what you want out of your future college has nothing to do with whether the school is same-sex or co-ed, an all-girl institution might end up being your best college match!
For the Friendships:
If you’re interested in forming strong friendships with other girls, you might want to consider an all-girl college. Many women who have graduated from same-sex colleges report that a strong support system exists amongst these institutions and great friendships come out of them.
For the Comfort:
Some high school students find they’re just more comfortable in an all-girl environment, and would rather ask their “dumb questions” in a class full of other women than amongst men where they might feel judged. Some also think they can concentrate more on their academics without being distracted by men. If you feel more yourself with a group of girls than amongst a co-ed group, a same-sex institution may be your best college fit!
If you’ve gone to a single-sex school your entire life, you may decide you don’t want to switch things up right now. As you prepare to attend college, you might be facing leaving your friends, moving away from home, and choosing what you want to do with your life. If throwing the co-ed experience into the mix right now seems incredibly stressful, keeping things consistent by attending an all-girl school might be your best college fit.
For the Sweatpants:
Some girls who attend same-sex institutions report their love for being able to roll out of bed and walk into class without having a care in the world about what they look like. These students believe that if they had attended a co-ed institution, they would have a higher focus on appearance and how they are received by the opposite sex.
For the Opportunities:
Some women at single-sex colleges like the idea that women can pursue any major and any leadership role without facing the stereotypes that may have come with it at a co-ed institution.
Want to search for scholarships or find your perfect college fit? Make your profile today on Cappex!
You’ve returned from your first college fair. If you took advantage of the dozens of tables, collecting information and asking questions, you likely have a pile of handouts, brochures, pamphlets, notes, post-cards, flyers, magnets, key chains, coasters, business cards, and other bits of information and marketing gadgets. You may be feeling overwhelmed with everything you were given. You may have no idea where to begin. The following is a list of ways you can best use that pile to push you further into making that decision on where to apply for college.
One way you can begin digging through all of the information you’ve picked up is to categorize everything. You can separate them by places you’re interested in and places you probably won’t be interested in, or by places you know a lot about and places you know little about. By splitting up the information into categorizes, you can have a better grasp on what it is you’ve actually picked up, and where you are in your college search.
Look at the Pictures
The information you receive will likely have pictures of the campus on it. Take time to actually look at these pictures. While a picture of the campus can’t make up for a real visitation, you can still tell a lot from the picture. Does this look like a place you could call home, or does it look scary? Do you find the campus attractive? Can you see yourself there?
Read the Majors List
You were likely given for many of the colleges a list of majors you could pursue at that college. Look at what the different colleges offer. What kind of school is this? You can often tell just by looking at the majors a little about that school’s culture. A technical school will probably have a higher value on sciences as opposed to a liberal arts school.
Re-Read Your Notes
If you took notes during the college fair, re-read them, while looking at the materials associated with the colleges you wrote about. This will allow you to get a more conceptualized idea of the different institutions.
Weed Some Out
There are some colleges you’ll know from the very start that you’re uninterested. While you may want to look over the material for these schools, just to be sure you haven’t missed something really great, you can start creating a pile of places you don’t want to attend based on whatever reason. Be sure to take note as to why you’re uninterested in these schools, as this is part of the process of narrowing down your perfect college match.
Hit the Web
Whatever you’ve received at the college fair, there’s more of it online. By going to the web sites of the schools you’re interested in, you can answer your own questions, get more information, and possibly continue to narrow down your search.
If you want to set up a college visit, talk to an advisor, shadow a student, or just get more information, there’s likely a business card for someone who can help you do that. Don’t be afraid to send them a quick email or give them a call. That’s their job!
Want to search for scholarships or find your perfect college fit? Make your profile today on Cappex!
So you’ve decided you’d like to transfer schools! As you so diligently research potential colleges you could make the move to, keep an eye out for shadow programs that allow prospective students to follow current students through an average day of sitting in on classes, attending club meetings, and hanging out in the residence halls.
Shadowing someone allows you to be the closest thing to a student without actually being a student. It also means you can get the 411 from the person you’re shadowing on their experience at the school. So make sure you take advantage of such a robust resource! The more information you can squeeze out of your peer, the more informed a decision you can make when it comes down to finally choosing your transfer college.
Here’s a list of questions you can ask your college host:
- Why did you choose this school as opposed to all the other schools you applied to?
- Where is your favorite place on campus and why?
- How would you rate your quality of education here?
- What’s one word you would use to describe the student body overall?
- Where is the best place to eat on campus?
- Where is the best place to study on campus?
- Would you say the students here are more academically or socially driven?
- Do you feel comfortable walking around campus at night?
- Are there better dorms to live in than others?
- Do students generally live in the dorms every year, or is there a lot of off-campus housing?
- How well do the RAs handle situations in your residence hall?
- What has your experience been with accessing help from professors?
- How big have your class sizes been?
- Are you involved with any clubs or organizations?
- What do people do here in their spare time?
- Do you feel safe in the neighborhoods surrounding campus?
- Would you ever classify this school as a party school?
- What are students proud of about going to this school?
- What is one problem or issue this campus is facing?
- Why would people transfer to or from this college?
- Are you happy here? Do you feel at home here?
- What makes this college special to you?
- What are you and your friends majoring in?
- What are three things every transfer student should know about this college before their first day?
- How easy is it to get around campus? Are there multiple campuses?
- Where is the best coffee on campus?
- Where do you think most students here meet friends?
- Do you feel like you have ample space in your dorm room? How many people share one bathroom?
- What is course registration like? Are you always able to take the classes you want to take?
- How respectful is the student body of diversity?
- What do you like best about your college’s culture?
- How well do you think a transfer student could adjust to this college?
For help on finding your perfect college fit, make your profile on Cappex today!
Here are 5 not-so-awesome, A.K.A, probably bad, reasons to choose a college:
It’s where the parties and bars are: Every semester there’s someone who admits to applying to that particular college only because of its social reputation. That person doesn’t usually make it past a semester or two. While it’s important to choose a college with a culture you’ll enjoy, the education you’ll receive at that institution is what you’re paying for. Keep your education the first priority and put the parties, bars, clubs, and other social elements a few notches down the list.
My best friend/boyfriend/girlfriend goes there: It can be very tempting to pick the college where your significant other or best friend is going, especially if you’re in high school and you’ve been maintaining a long distance relationship with someone who’s already in college. The thought of seeing that person all the time can weigh a ton on the college decision. It’s one thing if that college also happens to have the best academic program for you, but if there are other institutions you could attend that offer better programs , or if you think you’ll feel more at home somewhere else, or you’ve been offered an awesome scholarship, consider maintaining your friendships and relationships while you attend different institutions.
My father went there, and his father went there: When there have been generations of family members that have attended a particular college, it may seem that you have no choice but to continue the trend. If you love that college, then great. But if you think there are other colleges that would better suit your needs, you might be faced with a lot of stress, especially if Mom and Dad are paying. While you don’t want to disappoint your parents, when it comes down to it, it’s your life and your education. Go with what’s best for you–you can still root for their alma mater even if you don’t attend it.
Mom wants her baby close to home: While you might find it hard to leave your hometown to go to college, your parents probably find it equally as hard to let you! Just as you’ll need to adjust to living on your own, they’ll need to adjust to not having you around everyday. In addition, they may be facing realizations that they’re getting older, or missing their own college days. They’re also going to really miss you! As a result, they might subtly begin urging you to check out local and community colleges, or suggest you live at home and commute. While you don’t want to break mom’s heart, do what’s best for you and your education. After a few months you’ll adjust to living on your own, and they’ll adjust to having you away.
Everyone from high school is going there: Sometimes a large percentage of your high school will choose to apply to a particular college. If you love high school and everyone in it, it might be tempting to go, too; however, continuing the next four years with people who’ve known you since birth isn’t always the best idea. In college, you’ll figure out who you really are. You’ll make changes to yourself based on that self-discovery. College is often times crucial for individuals to form an independent identity and it may not be what they were at home or in high school. Those who attend college with a high percentage of their high school class may find this process to be more difficult.
Want to know how to research and find the right college for you? Watch this video!
Dear High School Juniors,
Your college search process can be a great experience! In fact, it should be. It’s like a shopping spree for your future. My advice? Build a college list with a strong foundation, some exciting choices, and a few options that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.
If you are serious about attending college and earning a degree, it’s imperative to have at least one “safety school”. Two is better, but having at least one school where you are basically guaranteed admission will make your entire process less stressful. Be honest with yourself. Take a look at your grades, test scores and activities and find schools for which you are over-qualified. Find out if these schools are rolling admission, and if that’s the case, apply ASAP. Think of rolling admission as first-come-first-serve; the earlier you get your application in, the more open spots there are!
The best part of your college search is finding your ideal schools. The schools that you think you can get into with your credentials, a killer essay and great teacher recommendations. Some might be a little stretch, others might be right on par with your GPA and test scores. These are the schools that offer the majors and programs in which you are interested! They’re located in the parts of the country where you want to live–whether it’s 5 minutes from home or a plane ride across the continent! Take a few leaps with the schools in this juicy section of your college list.
If you need help finding ideal schools, ask yourself what you might like to study. Love English classes? Look for schools with terrific creative writing programs. Science nut? Search for schools with excellent research facilities. You can also think about where you’d like to study. If you’re a skiing fanatic, seek out schools in Colorado or Montana where skiing can still be a part of your life. When in doubt, create a profile at Cappex! With hundreds of colleges and scholarships, Cappex can help you find your perfect school and a way to pay for them.
The final tier of your college list can be a couple schools that are big challenges. These schools are more selective or schools you’ve dreamt about but can’t guarantee you’d get into. Pick one or two colleges that will certainly test you – first on the application and later if you wind up attending. You never know what they are looking for and you just might surprise yourself!
One thing to keep in mind: don’t completely overwork yourself. Take time on each application so you can be proud of the finished products you send out.
This process can be stressful, but find ways to make it fun and you’ll be surprised how excited you’ll be for your future as you build your college list!
Deciding whether or not you should transfer colleges can be a pretty big decision. You may love your current college but come to find the major you’d like to pursue isn’t offered there. You may not like your current college at all, but love the friends you’ve made there. Regardless of why you’re interested in transferring schools, the decision to do so isn’t easy. The following is a list of tips to guide you as you consider your decision to transfer.
Make a diagram: Create a T-chart defining the positive aspects of both colleges. This will allow you to get a better idea of what both colleges have to offer.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to transfer?
- Is that program better than the program I’m at now?
- Are my reasons for leaving my current college something that can improve or be fixed?
- Is there anything I could do at my current school that would make my experience here better?
- Will my classes transfer, and if not, am I okay with a later graduation date?
- What is prompting me to make this decision?
- Am I taking enough time to think about this?
- Is this decision my decision?
- Have I thoroughly researched my potential school?
- Have I met with an advisor at my potential college to discuss the logistics of transferring?
Make a college dream list: Take time to make a list of what your dream college would have for you. Now look at how your current school and potential school match up. If neither school comes close to what you want out of an institution, you may need to research some more potential schools.
See a counselor: It might be helpful to spend an hour with a college counselor discussing your reasons for wanting to transfer. Counselors have a way of pointing out something you’re thinking or feeling that you may not have realized. They also know a lot about your school, so they may have the answers on how to get the things you thought your school lacked.
Talk to a neutral friend: It might help to vent to a friend who doesn’t attend either college and could remain neutral in your decision process. While a counselor is a neutral listener, your friends know you better. They may be able to point out things neither you nor a counselor was able to see.
Go through your college catalog: By scrolling through your college catalog, you may find majors, clubs and organizations you hadn’t realized your school offered. Make sure what you’re looking for isn’t something your college already has.
Re-read your original college application: Dig up the words you wrote that got you here. What was it that you wanted a year or two ago? Did what you were looking for change? Is this institution not giving you what you thought it would? By re-reading your original application, you’re getting in touch with your original college preferences.
For help in the college search, make your profile at www.cappex.com today to find your best college match!
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