Tips on Making College Choices

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By Andrea Coupe, Special to the Independent

High school seniors in Laguna Beach are making their final decisions for where they will pursue higher education in the fall, and juniors are diving into their own college search. For many, selecting a college or university depends on a variety of factors, requiring serious thought and consideration.

Here are tips students and parents should consider when choosing the college or university that will work best.

Create a top five list about the student. What are their academic needs? Campus lifestyle preferences? Parent suggestions? Once you know which colleges have accepted a student, check that institution against your top five list about the student to help narrow the match.

Keep the college choice and decision process more private than public. A student needs the freedom to change their mind without explaining it to everyone. Try to avoid opinions from high school friends that may not have the same academic abilities, financial status or social skills.

Think about the academic and campus life experiences you might enjoy. Look at college as an opportunity to experience something different and remember that Laguna students can always return during a school break.

Have a financial conversation with parents – look for great value and talk about finding a job on campus. Students and families see the best value in their college experiences where they left their comfort zone and made contacts and lifelong friends outside of Southern California. A job teaches life skills and builds a student’s resume.

Look at the list of majors and minors for each college.  Students should look to find courses of interest. Is there a practical experience or an internship present? How easy is it to change your major? Keep an open mind as more than 60% of college freshman change their majors.

Plan ahead in case a student wants to attend graduate school someday. Does a student want the professor to know their name?Will a student need a letter of recommendation for an internship program or a graduate school application? A small liberal arts college near a thriving city like Trinity University in San Antonio, Tex., is a perfect combination of educational challenges and practical majors and experiences where a student will be known personally.

Make it your own: Choose where you want to be part of a community. A student who grew up in Orange County can find a similar community experience in a social and thriving upbeat city with cheerful weather. Some examples include: Southern Texas, Arizona, and North Carolina.

 

Andrea Coupe, founder of Pasadena’s Coupe College Consulting, a private admissions advisor, has matched local students to universities nationwide.

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