College Planning Network has worked with well over 10,000 families to prepare for college.
According to College Planning Network, most students are picking colleges for the wrong reasons, and this is a mistake that can be avoided.
A recent study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, titled Transfer and Mobility: A National View of Pre-Degree Student Movement in Postsecondary Institutions, analyzed around 2.8 million full- and part-time students of all ages over a five-year period. The study revealed that around 30 percent of students change school before graduating.
While there are many reasons for this, top on the list is the fact that most people are choosing the wrong school, and majority of them are discovering this too late.
College Planning Network on How to Choose the Right School for You
So, how do you choose the right school? Here are some tips from College Planning Network:
1. Don't Choose Schools Solely Because of their Low Tuition: According to College Planning Network, one of the biggest mistakes people make when choosing schools is that of choosing schools because of their low tuition.
Reports have shown that while cost of tuition don't necessarily influence success in school, low tuition schools are usually linked to low graduation rates.
Choosing the right school should be done based on a lot of factors, not just how much you have to pay. Most students who choose schools because of low tuition eventually have to pay more in form of more years they have to spend in school, as well as the time they would have lost when they should have graduated.
2. Consider the Size of the School: While it can be difficult connecting the size of a school and the students' performance, research has shown that school size matters.
A 2002 study titled "School Size and its Relationship to Achievement and Behavior" has revealed that when the behavior and achievements of students is concerned, there is a slight advantage to being in smaller schools.
A recent article published in the New York Times that analyzed various research and expert suggestions also came to the conclusion that, all things being equal, performance in smaller schools is always better than performance in larger schools.
Other studies have also revealed a correlation between a school's size and the perceived happiness of a student; College Planning Network encourages students to consider this when choosing a school.
This doesn't mean students shouldn't apply to large schools; if what really matters to a student is community, than large schools can be important but it is also important to research to see if they have smaller communities within their large student population.
3. Consider the Program Offerings
Most students enter college without being certain of their major or programs they want to take; College Planning Network believes that it is important for students to explore the programs a school offers before they enroll.
Students are more likely to be motivated if they find classes in the school of their choice interesting, which can motivate them to focus more on their studies and as a result graduate with good results.
4. Don't Choose Schools by Rankings
Most students only decide on which school to attend by taking a look at college rankings from sites like US News.
The problem with choosing schools based on these rankings isn't just that lists like this often miss some things when ranking schools, but most people misunderstand them.
The best college for each student will vary based on a lot of factors, and choosing a school that is ranked as a "top college" could leave you disappointed.
5. Consider the School's Location
Many students consider factors such as the distance of a school, cost of transportation, etc., when choosing a school.
College Planning Network encourages considering the location of the school you plan to attend regardless of its distance from your home.