How to Choose a School
You've decided to go to school. You've decided to change your
life. Perhaps you are tired of your job, or just tired of making
less money than you deserve. Maybe you've decided to pursue a
secret passion. With the easy accessibility of the Internet, finding a college is
easier now than ever before. You can find directories, programs,
schools, and all kinds of resource sites with just a simple
search engine query. All this information is useless unless you
know what questions to ask. To help, I have compiled a simple
list of the basic questions to consider when searching for the
school of your dreams.
1. Do they offer scheduling that fits your lifestyle? Take into
account your lifestyle. Do you have a family? When will you go
to work? Many programs offer day, evening and online courses to
help you fit school into your life.
2. Do they offer job search assistance and/or career planning
for students and graduates? Does the school offer resources to
help you find a job once you have graduated? Do they offer
assessment testing to help you determine the best possible
career paths for your talents?
3. Do they offer professional certifications or memberships?
Certain jobs require you to have professional certifications in
order to become employable. Other professions, such as technical
writing, are greatly benefited from the professional
associations such as STA. Many professional associations offer
discounts and benefits for students.
4. Do they offer chances to take courses outside of your chosen
major/program? This is something you might not initially
consider; however, you may find as time progresses that you
would like to take some courses in something that is not in your
specific major or degree program. Sometimes courses taken
outside your major can add value to your knowledge base and
5. Do they offer hands-on training or real world work
experience? Let's face it; if you are going to be an auto
mechanic, you need to work on cars to learn your craft. You'll
want to make sure your school offers such training before you
enroll. Does the program require an internship? Internships are
not only valuable to your education, but they help give you the
real work experience employers seek.
6. Cost. Aside from the decision to go to school, cost is
probably the next major factor you will consider. Cost will help
you narrow down the list of possible schools. When looking at
cost consider not only the cost of tuition(classes), but the
cost of books, housing, food, other expenses such as program
fees, materials fees, computer fees and expenses that may be
unexpected (and trust me, they happen so it is best to be
7. Demographics: location of school, size of student body,
faculty and reputation Location; is the school close to home?
Will you have to travel or will you live on campus? Consider the
climate; are you prepared to walk through several feet of snow
during the winter? How large is a typical class? How many
students attend the school? Is the school well known? These are
all questions you should answer when choosing the right school.
Also consider the following: What sorts of resources are
available to students? Is there a library on campus? Are the
faculty members accessible? Do you like the campus?
8. Transportation--can you get there? This may seem a bit silly
to some people, but it is a real concern. School is a major
commitment and investment in time and money. You may be involved
in group projects where members count on you to show up to class
and meetings outside of school. How will you get to school? Will
you rely on public transit; busses, trains, subways, or do you
have a personal auto? Consider cost such as bus or train fare
and gas prices as well as how much time it takes to commute to
and from campus.
Remember this is just a basic list of questions to begin your
search. There are many more things to consider when choosing the
right school, but if you abide by the above list, you will be
far and away ahead of the game. Good luck and happy