No matter where you’re at in the school search process, one thing is true: life is unpredictable. You may not be accepted to the university of your choice. Or, what if after a year you decide the college or major you chose is not the one for you?
Before you whirl yourself into an anxious mess, know that these things are very common and the U.S. education system is flexible.
Here are some tips on how to choose a university or college, whether it’s for the first, second or third time!
STEP 1: KNOW THYSELF
When beginning your school search, start with what you do know about yourself. This can give you some direction and narrow down your search.
Ask yourself questions like these:
As an international student, you must also consider these questions:
STEP 2: DEFINE YOUR PRIORITIES
Think about all those questions? Now you need to prioritize what’s important to you and your family. Your list of priorities could be ranked …
Or, you could simply have a general list of what’s important to you …
When you’re writing your list remember to be realistic and open-minded.
STEP 3: GET TO KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
In order to be realistic and flexible you should know your options. There are thousands of universities and colleges in the United States and there are good choices for just about everyone, from community colleges to career schools to private, liberal arts colleges to large, public universities. The ivy leagues aren’t the only universities with stellar programs.
Don’t start meticulous research just yet. Simply start reading, talking to people, exploring websites, etc. Here are some fantastic resources to get you started:
STEP 4: RESEARCH
"The ability to research is a skill that will benefit you both personally and professionally. Period. Although each field requires a different set of skills the common and preeminent quality of a researcher is resourcefulness", says Richard Shenkman, journalist, historian and publisher of the History News Network.
“If you don't find what you're looking for on Google, try another search engine. If a search engine doesn't help, talk to a librarian. Just keep trying.”
And don’t forget to go to the source – the school!
American universities and colleges want to hear from you, so contact them, ask questions and request information. Your education is an investment in your future. Invest the time to find the right school for you!