College life is an experience whose memories last a lifetime, especially because college is perhaps the only time between youth and adult life.
College life is an experience whose memories last a lifetime, especially because college is perhaps the only time between youth and adult life. You can live a pseudo suspended life, with as much time for play, as for extracurricular activities. As one steps into the professional sphere, an adult rues the lack of work-life balance, making college life even more memorable.
Everyone has some memories of school: were you the wallflower, the cheerleader, the class brute, or at the receiving end of sniggers from the backbench, all because you did not do your homework? At school, we develop personalities, in relation to others, likes and dislikes, where there’s a lesser chance of actually having a voice in choosing the institution. As pre-adults, the luxury of choice means you have the freedom to choose the environment that will best encourage your growth as a student, individual, and, eventually, professional.
#1 Cultural Fit
Culture means more than two things. It has more to do with a pathway; the road you take together, is the destination the same? Do you think the school will be a welcoming place for you to learn? Cultural fit means you will feel comfortable ‘at home’ on campus, with a sense of belonging, which is essential, especially when you are a hundred or thousand miles away from home. Finding and founding new traditions, celebrating the familiar with new friends can be a valuable life lesson as you prepare to be a part of new cohorts, as you move in with roommates at college, join a sorority, graduate to being a professional, seek to date or even start a new family. College is just the beginning of a more significant part of life, so finding a college that’s an excellent fit for you can be critical.
Some sections advocate that the more expensive the college, the better the education. Overseas education can be expensive, with expectant parents saving for a college fund right from age 0. However, education lending falls within the priority sector, which means one can borrow at a subsidized rate, with greater freedom to choose the repayment schedule. Also, when choosing from a college list, please ask your advisor to include the best colleges for your program, which may include even the expensive ones. There should be no budgetary stipulation to apply to colleges, especially if you have a solid profile with excellent extracurriculars. Colleges realize that for equal opportunity, they will have to extend financial aid in terms of tuition waivers, scholarships etc. Make an extra effort with the paperwork, be it the Knight scholarship or the Fulbright, from the essays to meeting the requirements, start the profile building early on, and you can still go to an Ivy League college at community college prices.
#3 Program takes Precedence
To decide the best program for you, take a pen and jot down your career goals and future income goals; break these down into long-term and short-term goals. Then, begin your research, and go to the microsite for the school of your target university. Check if the school’s learning outcomes actually match your own learning objectives and preferred tracks. A program that offers flexibility in choosing two majors and no specific distribution of electives lets you take charge in the driver’s seat. If your goal is to end up with a great 401k plan, a house in the ‘burbs, and a Cadillac, see if your school has a placement record that has realized these goals for their graduating class. If yes, this is a successful match in streamlining goals.
Students can apply to any college, whether Ivy League or not, as the application fees range between $110 to $380, depending on the school. At this stage, the only thing that the student needs to prioritize is these three factors that will play a vital role in the personal, professional, and holistic development of the student, all of which are the critical drivers for pursuing collegiate education, whether in one’s home country or overseas.
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