Your college experience can be transformative, and it can also have a determinative influence over the course of your professional development. The cost of most degrees is greater than it has ever been, so this generation of students need to be highly discerning about how they invest in their education. If you’re deciding where you should go to school, here are some key considerations that you should factor into your decision-making process.
Career-Oriented Programs That Support Your Professional Goals
A lot of students opt to pursue a general course of study because they’re still evaluating their level of interest in various fields and exploring different options about what to study. However, identifying not only what field but what job role you’d like to pursue at the start of your education can help you identify your best options for where you should get your degree.
If you have a clear picture of where you’d like your education to take you professionally, it’s important to choose a school that offers degrees that are well-suited for your goals. Many schools are adding concentrations to their traditional programmatic areas of study. Refining majors enables colleges to closely meet what students are interested in while also meeting the practical needs of the labor market that await students after graduation. For example, the president of Piedmont University, James Mellichamp, has expanded programs to include more career-oriented concentrations in communications, education, and human services.
Tuition and the Cost of Living
Attaching a high premium to the cost of attendance and making admission very exclusive can sometimes help prestigious private universities create the impression that a degree from their institution is more valuable than the same degree from a less expensive or less exclusive university. Of course, not all educational institutions offer the same quality learning experience for students. However, tuition costs and exclusivity are not necessarily demonstrative of a degree’s intrinsic value. Ideally, you should choose a school that has reasonable tuition rates and gives students access to financial aid opportunities.
You also need to be wary about the cost of living in various metro areas which have traditionally been a popular place to attend college. In big college cities such as Boston and New York, rents have increased at an astounding rate. Living in an affordable locale can make going away to school much more manageable.
In-Field Learning and Job Services
Students who attend schools that emphasize practical job skills in coursework tend to have a winning edge when they enter their profession. Schools that offer academic credit in internships are extremely popular because they can give students an automatic resume credential that helps them find their footing.
Career counseling is another big draw for college applicants. A lot of young adults are concerned about struggling to find work due to inexperience in a competitive job market despite their educational qualifications. Well-established schools that are a fixture in their community have active alumni networks and professional connections that can be a fantastic resource for finding employment.
Ultimately, choosing where you should go to college is a major decision. Thorough due diligence and smart planning will help you choose with confidence.