Find the Best College for your Needs - OpportunityEquation.org

Based upon current statistics, prospective applicants can expect college tuition to continue to rise, the volume of college loans to be heavy and the competition for admittance to be more challenging than ever.

In interpreting the admissions – acceptance ratio, it must be understood that different colleges and universities use different criteria to discern what is a valid application and what is a valid offer to attend. Most universities only consider an application to be valid if the application is completed and an application fee received.

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Admissions to Acceptance Ratios

In April 2014, the New York Times published a fairly extensive list of the number of applications extended and the number of offers received by applicants. Below is a sampling of a few colleges and universities on the list:

  • Amherst College - 1,103 admission offers out of 8,468 applications, 13 percent.
  • California Institute of Technology - 529 offers out of 6,524 apps, 8 percent.
  • Dartmouth College - 2,220 offers out of 19,296 apps, 12 percent.
  • Harvard University - 2,023 offers out of 34,295 apps, 6 percent.
  • Northwestern University - 4,349 offers out of 33,673 apps, 13 percent.
  • Stanford University - 2,138 offers out of 42,167 apps, 5 percent.
  • Swarthmore College - 930 offers out of 5,540 apps, 17 percent.
  • University of Notre Dame - 3,720 offers out of 17,897 apps, 21 percent.
  • Washington University in St. Louis - 5,002 offers out of 29,211 apps, 17 percent.

These figures tend to be imposing but so is the application process. Attending a college or university is an honor and also an incredible responsibility. After being accepted at one or more universities, the onus is on the student to select the best college for their future needs and future career.

How to Choose the Right College

US News recently published a guide to help students accepted at a college or university choose the best educational institution for their needs. With so much on the line, it is to everyone’s advantage to make the right decision and select the university that will help you in your future career.

Revisit Your Possibilities – It is understandable to be flattered and excited by the first acceptance letter you receive. But, being first does not mean being the best fit. Before making a decision, the successful applicant should revisit the reasons that this college was on their application list.

Rank Priorities – In order to increase the chance of choosing the best fit, the student should re-examine their priorities and measure how their new priorities are attuned to each place they are accepted.

Go Back – Before finalizing your decision, return to the college and take a list of 10 to 15 questions that can influence your decision. Meet with the admissions staff and make sure the answers to your questions meet your expectations.

Concentrate on Your Endgame – Give considerable thought to where you see yourself in four years. Consider your financial goals, professional goals and try to outline your educational path to get there. What college or university helps you best connect the dots?

Check out Departments – Once you understand your endgame, you must research the various departments at your university of choice. Will the quality of the departments help you get to the next level? Choosing a university with the right departments and criteria for the right degree is a major consideration.

Compare Aid Awards – A four year post high school education is going to cost a veritable fortune. For many students, they will bear the responsibility for repaying college loans. One of the most important considerations is the financial aid package offered by each college. When you have received your offers, you must measure the financial aid packages at each university.

Job Connections – In addition to measuring the financial aid and strength of the university’s various departments, each successful applicant should research the effectiveness of the university’s career center. Check out their job fairs schedules and past performance in the industry that interests you.

Do Not Procrastinate – This is a major decision. It is only natural to feel a sense of relief when acceptances arrive. You have accomplished a major step in your life and career path when you have been accepted to any university. However, it is a mistake to drop the ball before all the details are in place. A four year education represents a major financial and personal commitment. As soon as you are accepted, begin the process of seriously evaluating which university is the best fit.

Choosing the right college is a huge responsibility. Do not be afraid to use a third parry expert for consultation. There are professionals who specialize in helping students make the right choice. In the long run, you will appreciate the advice you receive while making the right decision.

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