The availability of so many options when it comes to your college education can be rather overwhelming, especially if you are a student looking to make the most out of the whole education experience.
Narrowing your options down to a handful may not seem worthy of all the work, but your future self will definitely thank you for taking the time to do some research for your college education and enjoying the Art of Education.
Choosing the right college in Texas, then, boils down to your objectives and how you intend to achieve these objectives.
Establish goals and objectives
This basically means asking yourself “Why do I want to go to college?” and “What do I intend to get out of this experience?”
Be honest with yourself. The goals and objectives you establish at this point will help you make the right choices later on.
The culture of a school must appeal to you. All colleges and universities come with their own specific culture and you’ll have to become culturally literate in that environment. There must be a fit.
Don’t forget to check the Texas College Rankings as well. Rankings will not tell you everything and lower-ranked colleges may offer the best programs, but you can take that into account as well.
Choose a degree
The next thing you have to establish is your specific degree or program. It is important to do this earlier in the decision-making process, as choosing the right school based on your goal degree makes more sense than choosing the other way around.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this way of working. Do you want something that can land you a good job, or do you want a degree that takes your interests and talents into consideration? Do you want both?
Keep in mind your reasons for choosing a program. If you remain unsure, try narrowing your options down to 3-4 degrees. Several students tend to choose the same college as their friends, but whether that’s a good idea…
Check for accreditation
Choose schools that are accredited for the programs or degrees you intend to take. Be wary of accreditations given by accrediting bodies that simply give out accreditations to any establishment willing to pay.
You can check these accreditations out at the website of the US Department of Education (they have a database for this), as well as online forums that address these issues.
Make a dossier on prospective schools
What is the school’s reputation when it comes to graduates of the program of your choice? Do they have a high employment rate after graduation? Are the faculty and staff attentive to the needs of the students?
How frequently do they cater to any questions and concerns that come their way? How many students complete their bachelor’s degree in four years? How is the school’s online profile?
Take note of your goals and objectives once again, and see how your prospects meet these and set your priorities. Identify if there’s a cultural fit so you’ll be able to live and study up to your goals!
Try to look for more “dirt” via forums and clubs where students get to talk about their first-hand experiences and ask them for their also for their College Freshman Orientation experiences. You can learn so much by doing this.
How many colleges should you apply to?
As it comes closer to that wonderful time of college applications, you’ll have to start deciding where you’ll be applying to. So let’s see, how many colleges should you apply to?
Even if you already have some ideas where to apply to, it’s usually good to decide in concrete first where you’ll be applying. Of course, before you apply you need to have a high school diploma and make sure your SAT or ACT scores will grant you exempt status for there TSI Assessment.
The average student will apply to somewhere between five and ten schools. This gives you a good selection once you know where you’re admitted, and you can pick your best fit for those.
For students aiming for an athletics program and looking to get an athletic training scholarship matters that there are so many myths related to how college coaches are recruiting. You need a good social media profile to make yourself known. It doesn’t come all by itself.
You should never put all of your eggs in one basket when it comes to college applications. The best way to decide where to apply is to divide your colleges into three main categories: Top choices, safety schools, and reach schools.
There are so many interesting study programs these days that didn’t even exist a few decades ago like Game Design programs and interesting scholarships available at many colleges across Texas.
1: Your top choices
You should apply first and foremost to your top choices — the schools you can realistically see yourself attending. These are schools that you have a reasonable chance of getting into, and it’s reasonably likely that you would also attend them if you were accepted. The schools may provide scholarships as well to help you pay for your education, so contact the Financial Aid Department for details.
These are the meat and potatoes of your applications, and you should make sure that these applications are bulletproof. Even if some of the schools are a bit of a stretch, chances are you’ll be admitted into at least one.
I recommend applying to at least three of these schools, if not more. And you also need to visit these schools’ campuses to get a good and complete impression of the school, the surroundings, and learn about student life there.
2: Your safety school(s)
Safety schools are schools that you are extremely confident will admit you. These schools are your Plan B — if none of your top choices accept you for some horrible reason, at least your safety school will still take you.
Chances are you won’t need your safety, but it’s good to know that you’re admitted at least somewhere. Read also this post with lots of tips for success in college.
Depending on how strong your high school resume is, what might be a “safety school” for you could be someone else’s top choice. Apply to the best safety school you can, but make sure that you’re extremely confident that you’ll be accepted. You can even apply to different ‘levels’ of safety schools, where some are more sure bets than others.
You probably won’t need more than two safety schools, if even that many but keep in mind that community colleges with very high acceptance rates do not necessarily have to offer inferior programs! The opposite may be true.
3: Your reach school(s)
A “reach” school is a school that you don’t think you’ll get into, but you think you might have a chance. Depending on how good your grades are, this could range from Rice to one of Texas’ top state universities.
Applying to one or two reach schools is fine, but they should only be added as an afterthought — not the main focus of your applications.
Bear in mind that it costs money to apply to most schools. Unless you can get the fee waived or you can afford to apply to a lot of schools, you shouldn’t be applying to a bunch of different schools on a whim. For an overview of all Texas community colleges, check out this page.
Decide how much you’re willing to spend on applications, and keep track so that you don’t cross that amount. Don’t apply to more schools just for the sake of applying, though. Make sure it’s a place that you would actually consider attending if you’re admitted.
Last Updated on September 12, 2020