If you're in high school preparing for college and you need help making a decision, you've come to the right place.
The most important thing you can do before deciding where to go and what major to pick is taking one step at a time. If you face everything at once things will seem overwhelming, but if you take one step at a time everything will seem less daunting.
Before you start college you'll probably have a lot of questions about the program, experience, campus, and more.
Once you start college you're probably going to wonder whether the major or program you chose aligns with your interests and is the right one for you.
This is a normal thing to wonder about, but to avoid making any mistakes you should do the right amount of research before making a decision.
You should look into the academic and work aspects of the major, check out the course and class catalog, and figure out if you like the subjects.
In this article, you'll find information on every important college course or class, learn about the top universities in the country, understand the pros and cons of going to college, and we'll give you some tips on how to choose a university.
Are some college classes more important than others?
Although everyone's college experience is going to be different, there are certain things we should all learn while we're in school.
In the future, when you're applying for jobs and looking for a big break, you'll learn that there are some skills that employers are always looking for in their employees, skills that you should care to acquire while you're in school.
There are thousands of different majors and not everyone will learn everything there is to learn about each subject or course, but learning basic skills like speaking in public, good writing, and multitasking is crucial for your career.
There are also some general courses that we can all benefit from. Every university will offer general courses, all you have to do is make some space for them in a semester.
These courses are:
- Business management
- Coding or programming course
- Basic math
- Basic law course
Top universities in the country
Finding the perfect university for you'll take time and research, especially because what is best for someone else doesn't necessarily mean it'll also be great for you.
Before you start applying to college, you should consider what colleges you'd like to apply to and the United States has thousands of great schools you can go to.
Once you apply and get in you need to make sure that you can afford both the cost of tuition and the cost of living in the city where your university is located.
If you get accepted to multiple schools you should compare and consider majors, subjects, interests, and each campus. Try to determine where you want to go by checking things off a list of things you're looking for in a school.
If you feel a little lost you can always ask for help in your high school's guidance counselor's office or you can try talking to the college's admissions office.
Here is a list of the top 10 universities in the country and their acceptance rate:
- Stanford University - 4%
- Harvard University - 5%
- Yale University - 6%
- Princeton University - 6%
- Columbia University - 5%
- California Institute of Technology - 6%
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology - 7%
- University of Pennsylvania - 8%
- The University of Chicago - 6%
- University of California, Berkeley - 16%
Learn more about this subject on What are the top universities in the USA?
Positive and negative aspects of going to university
As with everything in life, college and obtaining a higher education diploma has both positive and negative aspects, and you should know about them before you decide whether or not you want to attend.
Pros of going to college
- Few responsibilities - if you don't go to college or university you'll have to pay for your bills, get a job, find a place to live, and go out to the real world without much knowledge or tools. But when you're a student you have fewer and much simpler responsibilities.
- Student life - your only responsibility will be to be a student, which involves attending class, doing homework, passing classes, and having a whole lot of fun. Getting a diploma is about attending and passing courses and making friends (networking too).
- Learning new skills - people go to college to learn and grow. Students attend classes to gain new skills and become professionals and experts in their field.
- Future opportunities - with a college degree you'll have more opportunities in the future, compared to someone who didn't obtain their higher education degree. You'll have a chance to find the job of your dreams, live in the city of your dreams, and have the life you always wanted.
- Getting financial aid or scholarships - if you have a complicated financial situation you can always apply for financial aid or a scholarship and get funds that will pay for your degree and your living expenses. These economic aids were created to help students who don't have the financial capacity to pay for college but deserve to have access to education.
Cons of going to college
- Too expensive - colleges and universities are a business and they need to make money to continue open and sometimes students can't afford to pay for the career they want because certain programs are too expensive.
- Early mornings - if you're not an early riser then you'll have some hard times in college because many classes are scheduled early in the morning and you'll have to get up and go if you want to pass and graduate.
- A vast sea of options - students are faced with an infinite pool of schools and career options and making a decision can be overwhelming, and sometimes confusing. That's why we recommend students spend a lot of time doing the appropriate research and figure out where and what they want to study.
- Competitive job market - while we all get a chance to go to college, getting a job afterward can be a little challenging due to the number of graduates per year. That's why you need to make the most of your college and university years, grab every opportunity you get, and strive for the best.
- Debt - colleges, and schools are expensive and many students decide to go into debt to pay for everything. Even though debt can sound like a good idea to afford everything, many people don't know how to manage the debt once they are done with school, and it becomes a problem for the rest of their lives.
How to choose a university
Choosing a college or university amongst all the colleges and universities available in the country can be a little overwhelming. That's why you need to come up with a system to narrow down all your options and start the process of selecting a school from there.
If you choose your career path before you finish high school you can focus your college or university search from the major's point of view.
For instance, if you want to study law and become a lawyer then you should look for the best schools in the country with strong law programs. If you know what you want to study, then you can narrow down and focus your search.
However, if you're not sure of what you want to study and you don't feel like choosing or declaring a major yet, you can focus your college search on other factors.
You can look at the cost, financial aid options, campus life, international programs available, job opportunities for graduates, the application process, majors and academic options, and so on.
If you're stuck between two options the best thing you can do is gather as much information as you possibly can of each institution and make a pros and cons list. If you can visualize each school and its benefits you will have an easier time choosing one.
The most important thing is to avoid getting too stressed and trusting your instinct. If you have questions about the schools, find the answers and get proactive.
You won't gain anything from stress and anxiety, and we know the decision process can be hard, but you can't avoid it!
Continue reading about the subject on What to consider when choosing a university?
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