Often Neglected Factors When Selecting A College

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As students and parents sift through the many college choices, they use a variety of factors and information to select a college that seems right for their needs and goals. Unfortunately, it is the college Public Relations Department that supplies most of that information. However, there are many additional factors that should be considered, when they are important to student success.

1. Job Search Preparation – Does the college both offer and explain exactly what students can do to make themselves more attractive to potential employers? (Not only grades, but books, web sites, coaching, interviewing and résumé preparation training, lectures, employer tours, campus activities, meetings with alumni in the field, internships and part-time jobs that lead to significant accomplishments, successes, experiences, examples and stories for student résumés and interviews. Each year of college should involve activities that lead to employment success.)

2. Employment Opportunities – During the senior year, does the college do things that will increase a student’s chances for employment success? (Invite employers who are interested in students with each major to conduct interviews on campus? How many actually come for each major? Do they suggest employment web sites that post jobs for students with every major? Do they expect everyone in the entire college community {on and off campus, including parents, current and former students and employees} to help identify a long list of employment opportunities for students in each major?)

Note: Colleges that delegate all of this responsibility to Career Services alone may not be all that concerned with the employment success of every student in every major.

3. Student-Friendly – Being student-friendly involves another group of factors that students and parents should consider.

a) The School Website – Is the college website comprehensive, detailed, easy to navigate and requires little effort to obtain the helpful information desired, including names, titles, locations, descriptions of services, e-mail addresses and phone numbers? (You can check this out from home by searching: Departments associated with a major, the Bookstore, Library, Career Services, Student Newspaper, Radio & TV Station and the Medical Department.)

b) Faculty, Staff & Administrators – Make themselves available and are friendly and helpful – (Student Affairs, Financial Aid, Career Services, etc.) What do current students say?

4. Graduation – What percentage of students graduate in four years? Do college seniors find that the courses they need are readily available, so they can graduate in four years, not four and a half or more?

5. College Leaders – Do college leaders make themselves available to students and demonstrate understanding and concern for student issues?

Do college leaders attend campus events, chat with students, listen to complaints and try to do something about them?

6. Campus Safety and Crime – Since crimes take place on and off every campus, colleges should make crime data, statistics and dangerous locations known to students and parents? Does the college report the sexual assaults and crimes that take place on the campus?

a. Information and Training – Is safety training, crime prevention and personal protection training offered to students? Are students made aware of who can help them, how they can get help and where they can get help, if they are robbed, assaulted, drugged or raped, etc.? During the new student orientation process, are all students made aware of the penalties for committing a crime on campus?

b. Off Campus – How safe is the local community? Does the college work with local shopping areas, parks, theaters, restaurants, bars and nightclubs to help ensure student safety? Are students made aware of the dangerous areas in the town?

c. On-Campus – Assaults including sexual assaults, drug use and drug dealing, theft of goods including money, jewelry, electronics and cars and theft of information for identity theft will exist on every campus. How does the college work to maintain the safety of students? Prevention should be an important part the college’s efforts. What safety measure exist to prevent muggings on campus? Are there plenty of lights, call boxes and escorts?

d. Dorms – Since dorm safety is critical, are there smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire extinguishers, fire hoses and intercom systems in the dorms? What about a variety of escape routes? How often are intruders and unauthorized visitors found in the dorms and places they do not belong. Are dorm entrances protected and secure?

e. Penalties – Is the college hard or soft on crime? Look for examples of information they communicate to students, the training that takes place and the penalties that are handed out for violations.

7. Facilities – Are the Dorms, Parking, Classrooms, Laboratories, Cafeteria, Bookstore and Library up to the standards expected? a. Consider room size, heating and air conditioning in the dorm, as well as the location, distance from classrooms, cleanliness of restrooms and showers in the dorms. If dorms are Co-Ed, how is that handled?

b. Is there enough parking? How far away? Are parking garages safe and secure?

c. Are classrooms modern and of a size that promotes learning? Will students be able to see, hear and participate?

d. Do laboratories contain the up-to-date equipment that potential employers will expect the student to utilize?

e. The quality and variety of the food offered to students should be considered. Are there other, nearby food establishments available to students? Are meal plans flexible?

f. Is the Campus Bookstore an on-line bookstore? How convenient will it be for students who need staples, pens, highlighters and other small items that often run out?

g. Is the Library an on-line library? How well will this meet student needs for quiet study areas and research? How do students get help when it is needed?

8. Current Student Opinions – After the campus tour is over, wise students and parents should re-visit the dorms, cafeteria, library, gym, bookstore, the quad, classrooms and hallways to talk with current students about the things that concern them. This may be the best way to obtain less biased opinions.

All of these factors come into play, since students will have different needs and experiences. However, the best decisions will be made when useful and credible information is obtained and evaluated.

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Source by Bob Roth

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