Beginning the Process of Picking a College

When it comes to making big decisions most everyone has their own ideas for the “best way” to handle it. Picking a college or university is no different. A parent may suggest following a simple formula to pick a school while a counselor may encourage a student to use a completely different method. And there are friends who will suggest that you should just “go with your gut.”

Whatever method is employed, you need to be happy with the decision. That means that the decision process needs to be something that you are comfortable handling. There are numerous things to consider when comparing different schools which only compound the decision process. However, if you can segment the process into a series of steps it may make your choice a lot easier to make.

What are the Crucial Items to You?

When you begin to compare schools you should decide on the most critical items according to your needs and goals. There are several things you may consider such as:

  • The school’s proximity to your home
  • Current size of enrollment at the college
  • Any affiliation with organized religions
  • Surrounding atmosphere (large city versus a smaller town)
  • Only one gender allowed or mixed genders
  • Private institution or state sponsored

Locate Information about the Schools

After contemplating the important items you should begin investigating different schools. There are a wealth of universities and colleges from which to choose. You may want to start off comparing the three basic types of colleges; four year bachelor’s school, a two year associate’s degree program or an online university.

If you are not sure yet of which type of school would be best, you can get information from a variety of sources. Relatives and friends can offer their insight based on personal experience. Online information as well as request literature from each school can also give you some idea of what to expect from each kind of school.

Using Your Major to Narrow Down the School

One method that may prove the most helpful is to use your intended major as a way to narrow down the schools. If you have researched various occupations and decided on a chosen major then you will want to look at schools with a strong reputation of offering that type of degree.

On the other hand, if you are keeping your options open and wish to choose a major after you have some college experience then you may wish to attend a school that has a wide variety of majors available to their students.

Compare Schools Based on Their Rank

Several organizations offer a ranking of colleges and universities. The rankings are based on a number of different factors such as percentage of students that finish school, variety of degrees offered, and the demographics of the student body and a host of other factors. Here are some of the more well known ranking services.

  • Princeton Review
  • Ruggs Recommendations
  • Forbes
  • US News and World Report

Comparing Schools Based on Cost

Another prime way to eliminate some possibilities is to consider the different tuition and associated costs with each school. Naturally you would like to pick a college that fits within your budget. The budget may be composed of personal savings, anticipated income from part-time work as well as scholarships and student loans. Regardless of the source of funds, make sure the school and the degree are financially within your reach.

Online Schools (12)

Below please find www.ValueOfADegree.com's list of accredited Online Colleges. Click on the school of your choice and fill out the form to request free information.

  • Accounting (Associate Degree)
  • Accounting (Bachelor's degree)
  • Accounting (Master's degree)
  • Accounting & Finance (Master's degree)
  • Applied Psychology (Master's degree)
Ottawa University Online Program offerings:
  • Business Administration and Management, General (Master's degree)
  • Business Administration and Management, General (Bachelor's degree)
  • Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration (Bachelor's degree)
  • Curriculum and Instruction (Master's degree)
  • Educational Administration and Supervision, Other (Master's degree)