Choosing A College
You have lots of factors to consider when deciding which type of college is the "right fit" for you:
Types of Colleges
Institutions made up of several colleges each of which may have different admission and graduation requirements. Universities offer a broad range of majors and degrees and also have graduate and doctoral programs.
Liberal Arts Colleges
Offer bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees in non-technical areas. Usually, these schools require more diverse programs of study for graduation. Click here to learn more about the differences between liberal arts colleges and universities!
Offers associate degree programs and very limited bachelor degrees. Most programs are very broad in scope, offering career and non-credit courses as well as courses that are equivalent to the first two years of a four-year college. These are also commonly referred to as community colleges.
Schools offering a narrow program of studies usually focused on technical education. These programs can vary in length from 6 months to 2 years and they offer certifications instead of a degree. More information about technical colleges can be found here.
Questions to Consider
- Does the college offer programs that will allow you entry into the career of your choice?
- Does the college offer your major or area of concentration?
- What is the student to faculty ratio?
- Who teaches freshman and sophomore classes, professors or graduate assistants?
Study Abroad Programs
- What are the details of the program as far as cost, location, and fields of study?
- Will you be able to graduate on time if you travel abroad?
- Is there an opportunity to explore a career in your major area of interest?
- Will the Career Services Office assist you in obtaining an internship?
- What internship opportunities are there in your field of study?
- Is there a career center?
- Does the university or college assist the student with the resume, interview, and job search process?
- What percent of students have employment in their field of study six months after graduation?
- What percentage of students come back their sophomore year?Graduation Rate
- What percentage of the students graduate in four years?
- How many in five years?
Net Price Calculators
The federal government requires all colleges to have net price calculators on their websites. The calculators are meant to provide a reliable estimate of how much it will cost you to attend a particular college, based on your family's financial circumstances.
Find the net price calculator for the college of your choice.
Tuition/Room and Board
The cost of a college education varies greatly. Cost should be a prime factor in making your college choice but should be seen from the viewpoint of out-of-pocket expense (i.e. financial aid package). Find out what merit and financial need scholarships are available at the colleges you are considering, so you can determine what the actual cost to you will be, before eliminating more expensive colleges from your list.
The Fafsa4caster will help you determine how much aid you will receive. Some universities meet 100% financial needs of students.
In-State vs. Out-of-State Costs
- Florida (in-state) public universities are less expensive than private or out-of-state universities.
- Out-of-state, public universities charge higher tuition costs to those students who are not from their state. Private universities charge the same tuition for in-state and out-of-state students. However, some private colleges offer significant scholarship programs that can even the playing field when it comes to cost. Many students do not realize that many private selective universities can cost less than a state school! Also, merit-based scholarships for out-of-state colleges may make the college less expensive.
Research the colleges that really interest you, ask their financial aid office questions before eliminating them from your list.
Selective private universities will charge you approximately 12% of your family yearly income, your EFC (Excepted Family Contribution) calculated on your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
So if you have a dream school you want to go to, please consider this!
- Enrollment of over 10,000 students
- Typically large class sizes for general education classes in the first two years
- More diverse curriculum and more options in specialized study areas
- Greater variety of extracurricular activities and organizations
- Enrollment is 3,000 to 10,000 students
- More personalized approach than a larger school
- Enrollment generally below 3,000 students
- Smaller classes throughout the four years of college
- Greater chance for participation in athletics and leadership opportunities
After Your Research
Once you've done your research and decided what type of college is the right fit begin to look at colleges that match the description. Naviance is perfect for this! After you have narrowed your list, you can begin your college application process!
How many colleges you should apply to is up to you? But the recommended amount is about 5 (3 being the minimum and 7 being the maximum). Make sure that your list always includes a safety school (a school that you are guaranteed to be accepted into) and a target school (a school that your scores and credentials fall within the average range of the school).