Holiday conversations between friends and family and high school juniors and seniors will inevitably include questions about the student’s college choice.  It’s important to make a choice you will be happy with, and there are many considerations about where to apply and where to attend.

According to an article from TransparentCareer.com, the five main reasons students transfer are homesickness, financial reasons, academics (either too challenging or not challenging enough), school offerings (majors, academic programs) and dissatisfaction with the social scene.

Below are some considerations for making your college choice.   Although transfers occur often and there is nothing wrong with transferring, it’s nice to get it right the first time.

Debt

As I read blogs about colleges, there is considerable discussion about the cost.  Both parents and students can face long term financial consequences once college is over and student loans must be repaid.  For many students, the burden of repaying financial aid delays financial independence.  Students continue to live with Mom and Dad and the prospects for moving out, let alone buying a home, are distant.

Many parents set aside a specific amount of money for their student’s education.  It can be difficult to anticipate tuition increases, housing and transportation expenses in the 3rd and 4th years of school.  Students may find that by Year 3 or 4 they are out of money.  Planning conservatively, earning scholarships and considering a lower-priced college can mean leaving school with little or no debt.

Distance

Moving to a distant part of the country is exciting and attractive to many students.  But a faraway or remote school may limit opportunities to return home, a consequence students must be ready for.  Students, ask yourself:  do you have siblings?  Do you have a big extended family you enjoy seeing a lot of?  Do you have close friends it will be difficult to be away from?  Are you more of a homebody than you realize?  If you choose to venture out to a new place, it doesn’t mean family and friends aren’t important to you.  Just be sure you are ready for the change and independent enough to create a new community for yourself at school.

Reach Schools

Many students choose a “reach” school, one that is selective or would be difficult for the student to get into.  It’s exciting to get an acceptance to a school that represents a challenge.  But will that school still meet your financial and distance and academic parameters?

Flexibility

Many students just don’t know what they want to do when they go to college.  If you fall into that category, be sure you are aware of how easy or difficult it is to change majors at your college choice.  Depending on your general interests, there may be course requirements that have to be fulfilled at a certain GPA to move to a different school within a university.  Try not to get caught having to spend an extra year or more in school to change directions.  Some schools are more flexible than others.

Job Opportunities

Job opportunities may be easiest to find in the region where the college is located.  Students will have opportunities for internships locally—and internships can lead to jobs.  Companies nearby will recruit at schools in their area.  Some schools, of course, will attract national companies which could lead to jobs anywhere, but if you have your heart set on working in a particular part of the country, going to school there may make it easier to find a job there.

Bottom Line:  Improve Your Scores and Have More Options

The benefit of working to improve your ACT test score and GPA is that you increase your potential for acceptance.  You can also potentially qualify for more scholarships, further increasing your options.  Scholarships can reduce your financial burden if that is a concern and give you more options for schools to choose among.

For more information on ACT preparation at Knowledge Edge, click here.