How To Really Learn About A College

What is the best source of information about colleges? The answer is surprisingly simple.

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As a prospective college student, you are probably inundated with brochures, pamphlets and emails from colleges across the country. With so many schools to choose from, how do you make your decision?

While guidance counselors, university faculty members and professors can all provide you with helpful information, the best resource to learn about college life is from college students themselves.

Nothing can take the place of spending time on campus. Take as much time as you can to get a feel for your prospective colleges.

College Visits

During college visits, a representative from the school will likely speak to you about academic standards, information regarding classes and curriculum, and campus life. However, to get a first-hand account of what college life is like on the school’s campus, talk to the students. Most colleges offer campus tours that are generally led by a current student or recent graduate. Feel free to ask your tour guide questions, and get their contact information so you have resources - should you have any additional questions after your visit.

Seek Students With Similar Interests

Talking to students about campus life will not only give you an insider look, but it’ll also give you a feel for what the student body is like and if they are types of people you can relate to. For example, if you are interested in playing water polo in college, seek out members of the water polo team in order to get a feel for the team’s social aspects during and after practice. If you were initially hesitant about joining the team, you may find that you are more enthusiastic once you get to talk to actual team members.

Don’t Forget About Alumni

Alumni are an invaluable resource to prospective college students as well. Although universities will provide you with information and statistics about employment rates, alumni can share their personal experiences about finding a job after college. They may even be able to give you an idea of what life is like in certain industries or companies. It’s also a good idea to find out which industries hosts the most alumni from the schools you’re considering, which may increase your chances of finding a job or at least open up new networking opportunities later on.

Think of the Big Picture

Remember, there is far more to the college experience than classwork and academics. That is not to say that these areas are not important, so be sure to choose an environment you love with people you enjoy. After all, you may be spending the next several years there.The best way you can get a feel for campus life and the student body is to talk to the students themselves. All of them went through the exact same process as you, so most will be more than willing to lend a helping hand.

How To Really Learn About a College: Tips and Tactics

  • Nothing can take the place of spending time on campus. Take as much time as you can to get a feel for your prospective colleges.
  • If you're trying to choose between a few different colleges, don't be afraid to ask your family - cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents - for advice. They may have some insight you haven't thought of.
  • There are a ton of college lists online. Whether you want to find out about green colleges or party schools, there's info for you on the web.

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