Choosing the right college or University is a big decision. The majority of staff at FirstPoint USA have all studied and played their sport in the USA, so there is always someone to help you with any questions, or worries that you might have.
To help with this decision, we have created a list of some of our top tips to consider when choosing the right school for you;
Revisit your short list
Make a short list of the offers you have been given, and from them choose which ones you feel are good possibilities. Revisit this list, and consider why you identified each school as a good fit for you....how much do they match up to your other top choices?
Rank your priorities
From the list that you have made, create an extended list of the pros and cons of each school. What factors are most important to you? It may help to numerically rank each factor by importance to see how they compare. You may want to consider ranking factors such as athletic programs, academic programs, location, college size, facilities etc.
Go back to school
If you have had the opportunity to visit the college you wish to attend, then you should have gotten a feel for college life during your campus visit. If you have not had the chance to visit, then do your research! Get online and find out more about the campus and college life. Twitter and facebook are great ways to check out your college/university as most now have pages or accounts. YouTube is another great way to source professional (and candid!) videos of your chosen college.
Focus on your endgame
Yes, you want to earn a degree whilst playing your Sport at one of the highest possible levels....but, where do you see yourself in four or five years time once college is over? You may feel it is too soon to be thinking of that, but you have to really have to have some focus on your endgame. After all, the whole purpose of going to college is to set yourself up for a career! So, where do you want to be in 5 years time, and can your chosen college help you get there?
Delve into departments
Yes it is important to use College rankings in your decision process, but don't forget that academic prestige can be examined at a departmental level too. Take the time to research the departments you would be studying in...find out which school has the best department in your study field.
Investigate job connections
Studying abroad is something that definitely looks great on a CV but it would be foolish to rely on this alone. Check out what resources your college has for helping to build towards a future career. Ask questions about job fairs, on-campus interview opportunities and do your research on careers that alumni students have had.
Compare aid awards
Compare your offers! Remember, that not everyone will be offered a full scholarship. How much contribution is expected? What do you need to budget for the year? Understand what is free money (scholarships and grants) and what you may have to pay back (loans).
The decision-making process can be a stressful time for both future college students, as well as their parents! Talk your options through with your parents, and listen to their advice. Remember, that they only want the best for you so try to reach a compromise that suits you both. Make sure you have well considered reasons for attending your chosen school, and try to talk through any points of contention.
Move on from rejection
Finding out you have not received an offer from the top school that you might have had your heart set on can be tough. Try not to dwell on any disappointment, and focus on the positives. The USA is a huge place, and there are many great schools which you may never of heard of that might be the best suit for you! Remember, that yes, New York, California and Florida are great places...but many of our former clients who have been to schools which are seemingly in the middle of nowhere have found them to be the best experiences of their lives!
Which school to choose is an important decision, and this can be quite a daunting task! Don't fall prey to procrastination! Spend a few weeks doing some serious research to make sure that you are happy with the decision which could affect the rest of your life. Don't forget, the majority of our staff at FirstPoint USA have all been through it! We are always on hand to offer any advice or guidance from the big decisions to the smaller enquiries!