But, times are changing, and students are no longer only considering their local universities.
High school graduates are evermore exploring their options abroad. With the United States boasting over 4500 tertiary institutions, narrowing down your list can be a daunting task.
With a little research and some professional direction, we'll help you identify institutions that best suit you.
Well, Harvard may not offer your desired major, don't waste time on institutions without understanding their offering. Colleges and universities display degree information on their admission web pages and their admission's officers are always happy to answer questions you cannot find the answers to.
Reaching out to the admissions officers also shows that you are interested in their university. Guess who will be reviewing your applications? Yes, the same people. If your questions are legitimate, thoughtful, and cannot be easily found on the website, they are likely to remember you and help your application further in the process.
The key is to dissect the right information. For example, if a university is ranked number one based solely on their athletic budget, this is good, but it doesn't mean the standard of education will be the best.
Ask yourself questions like "What is the student satisfaction score? What is the student to faculty ratio? What is the employment rate of graduates in my field? How many professional athletes have come from this university?". Depending on what you are looking for, the right answer will be different.
Make sure you have a good understanding of the surrounding area and decide if you want to be in the heart of a big city or in a quieter, more peaceful environment.
It is interesting to note that in rare cases, universities will pay for a student’s campus visit. Student-Athletes who perform at elite levels have had their flights, hotels, and meals paid for by interested universities wanting to recruit them.
Some universities have a reputation of being "Party Schools" where student life is very much based on social activities; while other institutions like Duke and Stanford are renowned for excelling across the spectrum of elite sports and academics.
Make sure you understand what type of social environment you will be entering into.
The average USA college costs around $50,000 per year, which may not be realistic for you. Of course, on the opposite end of the scale, there are very cheap community colleges in the USA. Choosing the cheapest option isn't sound advice either, sometimes institutions are cheap for a reason...
Here at Aspire Atlantic, we bridge the gap between talent and opportunity and provide students with exposure to an excellent international education at prices they can afford based on their academic and athletic ability.
There is a lot that needs to be considered when selecting your ideal university. Thorough preparation can save you from having to transfer schools or, even worse, dropping out altogether. Neither of those outcomes is the end of the world, but it can be a financially painful lesson to learn.
What is most important to you, when making university choices? Let us know in the comments below! Have questions? Send us an email and we would be more than happy to help!