National Decision Day – 5 Ways to Choose the Right College


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On May 1, many first-time college applicants plan to publicly announce where they plan to go to college. Social media platforms will be flooded with students sharing photos of themselves wearing sports gear from their new colleges.

Although National Decision Day is something many students look forward to, the days leading up to it can be greeted with anxiety. After all, the next four years or more are crucial as your student transitions into adulthood and pursues what they want to do for the rest of their life.

As a parent, you may be wondering how to help your student make the right choice. With many aspects to keep in mind, the process can seem overwhelming.

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Here are five ways to help your student make a decision about which college to attend.

1. Consider their major. One of the main reasons a student will choose a college is based on the major or program of interest offered, according to a recent study by College Pulse. The first step your student should take in choosing a college should be to assess whether their college of interest has the desired major.

In this May 18, 2019, file photo, pedestrians walk through the student union at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The Ohio State University wishes to trademark the word “The” when used as part of the school name on university products. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

To learn more about the programs offered, your student can ask to speak with a current professor about how your student’s chosen degree will help them in their field of study. Encourage your student to learn about the core courses required for their major and compare courses to what other colleges offer. This can help them determine which university offers them the right path.

Your student should also rate how well the college’s program is doing in preparing its graduates for the job market. One way to do this is to determine the postgraduate employment rate of the program.

2. Successful completion of postdoctoral research. Many colleges will post employment rates or where their graduates work to show the achievements and validity of their programs on their websites or in brochures. If your student is unable to find this information online, have them contact their admissions counselor or college dean. It is important for your student to know the professional success rate of graduates from his future college.

CAMBRIDGE, USA - APRIL 2, 2018: View of historic architecture of famous Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

CAMBRIDGE, USA – APRIL 2, 2018: View of historic architecture of famous Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
(Stock)

At Southeastern University, our nursing program has a 100% employment rate after graduation. Our graduates have gone on to work in some of the best hospitals in the country. There’s no better way to show a student they can succeed than by watching how other graduates have fared.

Another factor to consider is how your student’s chosen college will equip them for further education, such as earning an advanced degree or certifications. This could include preparing them for law school, medical school, passing entrance exams, teaching certifications, or preparing for CPA tests. Ultimately, your student should know that the degree they earn will help them further their career.

3. Select a school with similar values. A college campus culture can be essential in your child’s personal life as they transition into adulthood. Your student should find out what the core values ​​and mission statement of their desired college are and make sure they align with their own principles.

Students walk on the campus of Howard University, one of six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States that have received bomb threats, in Washington, United States, January 31, 2022.

Students walk on the campus of Howard University, one of six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the United States that have received bomb threats, in Washington, United States, January 31, 2022.
(REUTERS/Sarah Silbiger)

I often tell students to ask themselves if the school they choose will help them grow as an individual and contribute to their personal development.

One of the main reasons students say they choose to attend Southeast is that we are a faith-based institution. Students want a place where they are surrounded by individuals with similar lifestyles and where they can grow academically and in their faith.

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Although a school may seem to have everything your students want, if it doesn’t align with their core values, it can make their time on campus miserable. Although every transition to college is difficult at first, having the right campus culture can make a difference in their experience and whether they thrive during and after college.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - OCTOBER 20: Pedestrians cross the chapel lawn at University of Maryland College Park on Thursday, October 20, 2016. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

COLLEGE PARK, MD – OCTOBER 20: Pedestrians cross the chapel lawn at University of Maryland College Park on Thursday, October 20, 2016. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

4. Weigh the cost differences. The price of college and debt are top concerns for parents and students heading into the 2022-23 academic year. And, 98% of families say financial aid is needed to pay for college according to a 2022 Princeton Review survey.

Before your student decides where to go to school, it is important that they consider the cost, the scholarships they will receive, and the amount of debt they will incur. Make sure they understand their financial aid award letters and ask them to ask financial aid counselors if they have any questions.

Students on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, DC, U.S., Thursday, September 9, 2021.

Students on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, DC, U.S., Thursday, September 9, 2021.
(Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Your student should also consider how much they will earn with their degree once they graduate. They will need to earn enough money after graduation to justify the cost. In other words, they have to find the best return on investment.

5. Assess the location. Does your student want to go to college near home or move to another state? The College Pulse survey found that one of the top reasons a student chooses a college is because it’s close to home. Since the pandemic hit, more and more students were looking for universities close to home to help cut costs.

Campus of the University of Louisville.

Campus of the University of Louisville.
((Credit: University of Louisville))

Wherever your student ends up, they will want to know what amenities and attractions are available in the city where they will be living. They can also consider places of employment and professional networks in which they can become involved.

Although campus culture is important, it is likely that they will spend their weekends in the city. The Southeast is located in central Florida, making it easy to visit some of the best beaches in the country on weekends. With the hustle and bustle of schoolwork and activities, your student will want a place nearby where they can get away to relax.

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Choosing where to go to college is a big deal, and your student should feel celebrated this National Decision Day. Invite your friends and family to commemorate the day.

Be sure to encourage your student to enjoy the moment, take lots of photos with their new college gear, and share their news publicly. The next few months leading up to college should be exciting for your student as they enter this new chapter in life.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. KENT INGLE


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