The Freshman Transition Network

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During the senior year parents engage in the annual ritual and conversation about selecting a college. Today college cost is frequently at the top of the list of issues that parent’s must confront. Even today money should not be the only reason that you select a college. The ability of your student to live within the philosophy of a college can make a big difference in their success. Sure colleges can put up an advertisement and send you a mailing every week but there is nothing like visiting a campus and talking to the faculty and students who have made a commitment to a particular college. The truth is there are over 6,000 colleges that a student can select from and all; very in size and mission. Some colleges are owned by your state, some private and others are community colleges.
There are eight rules that will help you to select a college that fits your needs. There are some simple rules that you can follow to reduce your stress. These practices will help you to make a reasonable decision about the top colleges that you select. Here are the 8 rules:
1. When you go on a college tour always arrange a meeting with a faculty member and student.
2. Always talk to the financial aid office after you have received their financial aid package.
3. Attend a classroom lecture to get a sense of the class sizes.
4. Check out what students are saying about the college on the internet.
5. Ask if advising is mandatory or voluntary. Advisors can be a critical part of a student’s success.
6. Ask if their professors teach classes or mostly teaching assistants.
7. Ask how many students from your high school have attended the college. It could be a sign that your former classmates really liked the college.
8. Take several friends with you and go on a campus tour together. Sometimes it is good to get more than one perspective on the college you are visiting.

It is never too early to start your college search process. Colleges are putting out all kinds of information every day. You can go on some college websites and download videos and podcasts about the college. Some colleges also offer CD recordings of several aspects of the college. Some colleges even offer a virtual tour of their campus. Dr Stephen Jones is an outstanding educator and consultant he is the author of “Seven Secrets of How to Study, the Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide and the Ultimate Scholarship guide at http://www.studyskills2u.com.

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Comment by Dr. Ronald G. Shapiro on August 14, 2009 at 8:55pm
Good recommendations... I would also suggest developing your own itinerary for a "campus tour." Attend several student sponsored events. Introduce yourself to lots of different students on campus and talk with them. Drop in some faculty offices and talk to them. It is good to talk with the individuals hand picked by the admissions office... but you should not assume they are representative of the students and faculty on campus. Instead, you should find your own sample of students and faculty to talk with. Similarly, talk to some recent alumni as well. If you think you will want a job after getting your undergraduate degree talk with the placement office people about their success rate in placing students in the careers they want. If you think you want to go to graduate school in a particular discipline see how successful the college is at placing students in excellent funded graduate programs.

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