Tips help students find college that is ‘right fit’
High school seniors across Wisconsin and the nation are deciding this month about where to go to college—undoubtedly one of the biggest decisions in life so far. Many have applied to and received “yes” letters from more than one university.
If you’re among those deciding, how do you know which college is the best fit?
A campus visit is a must, said Terri Crumley, admissions director at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. “When you visited the campus, how did you feel? Did you feel this was a place you can call home for the next four years?”
May 1 is the national candidate reply date, when decisions and deposits are due on most campuses.
Crumley poses these questions to help students make the decision that’s right for them:
  • Do you feel comfortable in a big environment, small environment or something in between?
  • Are you comfortable with the distance college is from home?
  • How accessible is the faculty? Do you want a classroom where the professor knows your name or are you comfortable being anonymous?
  • Beyond the classroom, what opportunities can engage you in learning activities with professors and other students, such as undergraduate research, community service, international study or class trips?
  • Are the students and staff helpful? When you have a question, are you comfortable approaching another student or a staff member?
  • While you do not have to know exactly what to major in before starting, does the college offer a good array of majors of interest for you to choose from?
  • Ask students and graduates of the university or college: How is advising on campus?
  • Will you have easy access to resources when you need help with career planning (start this your first year), tutoring, counseling and health issues?
  • How up-to-date is technology on campus?
  • Are there enough extra activities on campus that interest you?
  • Is it an affordable investment? “College is an investment, but the costs shouldn’t overwhelm you. Between financial aid and low interest student loans, you don’t need to leave college with more debt than it takes to buy a car,” Crumley said.
  • What are graduates doing? Did they find jobs or get accepted into graduate school after graduation?
Arrange another campus visit, if you feel you don’t have answers to all of these questions.
“College is a lot like a fitness club. You show up—you have to do the work to be successful. What you want is a place that provides you all the ‘equipment’ to do the work, and also great staff to inspire you to keep coming back," Crumley said.

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