There are basics to learning that we have all heard. Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic are the three “R’s” that we have all heard about as the basic building blocks to all learning. Well this blog and two after this will talk about 3 more R’s when it comes to the college search process. The first on that I would like to talk about is research. I am not talking about going to the library and checking out a book to write a paper. I am talking about taking the time to really research colleges and universities that interest you. The first step is to understand the differences in colleges (public vs. private, large vs. small, etc). You want to know what type of school(s) interest you so that you do not waste your time at a school with 50,000 students when you want to go to a school where you are engaged with the faculty and the classes are small. You also want to consider the logistics- where is the school located, what type of environment is surrounding the campus. Will I be an hour from home (there are both pros and cons to this), is the campus in a large city (pros and cons to this as well) are the type of questions you should as yourself. The next step is to visit campus. It is very easy to go off what a book tells you, or what someone else has to tell you about a school, but until you step foot on that campus for yourself, you will not know the truth. Ask the tough questions when you are on campus to the admission officers, and talk with current students. You definitely need to visit when students are on campus. Students will be completely honest with you. Talk with multiple students and not just the student tour guides. Hearing multiple perspectives is important so that you are not hearing just one side of the story. Visit a class and stay overnight if you can too. These are all things you should be doing if the school has these types of programs available. These are a couple quick tips to keep in mind when beginning your college search.
Good questions to ask:
What are your graduation rates?
How many students return after their freshman year?
What is the avaerge class size? Do you have TA (teaching assistants) or will I be taught by a faculty member?
Be on the lookout for future blogs on the other 2 “R’s”, Resources and Relax.
– Randy Tripp