Sometimes finding the right college can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are literally thousands of choices out there, each with a different feel, academic reputation, and social scene. It can get overwhelming, fast.
Ask the Right Questions
To help your student avoid some anxiety, you can help them narrow down their choices by asking the right questions. Start by asking your student what they are looking to get out of a college experience:
- What are your primary reasons for wanting to attend college?
- Have your student complete this sentence: I want to go to college because _______ (ex. I want to be academically challenged, I’m looking for the traditional “college experience” of living on my own)
- What do you want to major in? What type of work do you think you want to do after college?
- Someone interested in becoming a software engineer will need to consider different programs than, say, someone who wants to be a teacher.
- Will you be more comfortable at a larger or smaller university?
- “I’m not afraid of getting lost in the crowd of a large school” vs. “I want the more personalized, attentive experience a smaller school can offer.”
- Where do you want to study?
- Do you see yourself traveling far from home or staying close? Are you looking for a more urban experience, right in the middle of a big city, or would you do better in a rural college town?
Discover their Interests
Once your student has marked off what they’re NOT interested in, they can start focusing on what they ARE interested in. Help your student start compiling a list of schools fitting their specifications. Then, get in touch with an admissions representative for those schools and ask them for information about:
- How long does the average student take to complete their program?
- What is the average class size?
- Are the instructors all faculty? Are these faculty focused on teaching or on research?
- What type of support is offered to students? (tutoring services, student services advisor, etc.)
- Financial Aid
- What’s the average financial aid package?
- Can the school provide a breakdown of exactly what I’ll owe out of pocket?
- Are scholarships renewable?
- Are there student jobs available?
- Student Life
- Are freshmen required to live on campus?
- Are there many commuters?
- What types of activities are offered on campus? (sports, intramurals, clubs, spirituality, etc.)
Schedule Campus Tours
Once your student selects their top choices, it’s time to start scheduling some campus tours. If possible, schedule a tour while school is in session. This will give you and your student the clearest picture of what it will be like to attend any given university. Pay attention to see if lots of students are hanging around or if it’s more of a ghost town; try to sit in on a class to see how lectures and discussions are conducted; ask to take a peek at a dorm room and eat lunch in the student union to get a taste for campus living. Stop a few students and ask them the most important question of all:
If your student is interested in attending a private Christian university with an active student life and generous scholarship opportunities in a place with over 300 days of sunshine every year, Grand Canyon University may be the perfect fit!
GCU offers a private Christian education at an affordable rate. With more than 150 academic programs, GCU has something for almost everyone. Our classes are led by faculty members who are experts in their respective fields and who are here to teach, not conduct research. Approximately 8,200 students enrolled in campus classes in Fall 2013. We also offer an active campus life, 22 Division I sports teams, intramurals, mission trips and campus events.
We invite you and your student to experience GCU for yourselves by attending Discover GCU. This is your student’s opportunity to experience college life firsthand in a safe, supportive environment. For more information, visit our website or contact us today!
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.