There are over 4000 colleges and universities in the United States. Choosing the right “one” can become a daunting task.
There are many ways to choose a set of colleges and universities. There is no right or wrong way to choose a school, and there is no right or wrong schools. You can begin your search by considering one or more of the following factors:
- People you know
You may decide on a school based on someone you know. May be there is a graduate someone you or your family know in a university who had positive experience at his or her schoolthere. May be someone in your family attended a specific school, and you have always been excited about following their steps. May be you’ve read about a place in the news. Or a friend, of a friend, of a friend, told you about it. Talking to people is one way to learn about schools.
Ranking is not everything. However, by going to websites that provide school rankings, you can get a list of schools as well as a rough idea of which schools are considered “top schools” in the U.S. Some school ranking websites also provide more detailed information such as tuition fee, acceptance rate and average SAT Score.
Based on the rankings of schools and your academic credentials (school grades/GPA, test scores/SAT/TOEFL/ACT, etc) you can make your initial list of match, reach and safety schools.
You can go to the U.S. News School Rankings Website or see the list of America’s Top Colleges by Forbes to find out about the list of schools in the United States. Researching schools online, or on social media is another way to learn about schools.
- Field of Study
Another thing to consider a school is your interest and field of study. Some schools are well known for specific fields of study. For example, for law schools, Tulane is famous for its Energy Law studies, UCLA has an International Human Rights Law Program and Columbia University offers a wide range of Corporate and Securities Law courses. You also need to find out as much information about the field of study and courses offered by the schools that you would like to apply to, to ensure that the subjects that you intend to study are available at such schools.
In choosing the right school, you may also consider choosing a favorable city to live in, so that you can enjoy your stay and get as much experience out of school. Choosing a favorable city may depend on your personality and interests. For example, if you prefer sunny weather, you may choose to live in the west coast, or if you would like to experience snow, you may choose to live oin the east coast. You may also choose to live in a vibrant city like New York, or a smaller town. Many of our mentors have lived in all of the United States, and they have all enjoyed their time, some more, some less. The bottom line is that when you challenge yourself in terms of new friends, new place, new country and new environment – you grow more than if you stay in the same place.