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How to Choose a College

There are so many ways to get information and recommendations on a college--friends, family, college rating guides--but this important decision is best made by you and you alone. So, how to choose? This page is designed to help you become an informed consumer. Use your family and friends for advice, but also do some independent research to identify four to eight schools where you can be happy learning, growing and networking.

To buy books on this subject see: Amazon -- search keywords "choose a college"

Steps to Choosing The Right College:

1. Know who you are and what you want from your college or university experience
* Take the "Values Assessment"
* Do the "Self-Assessment" survey

2. Pick a major or academic focus, then visit the Foothill College Transfer Center in the Student Development Center to:
* Research schools that offer that major or program
* Look at "The Gorman Report" and "Rugg's Recommendations On The Colleges" to learn which colleges are rated "best" for your major
* Do a major search using the Eureka program, or use a major finder in one of the college guide books

3. Find some schools that fit your criteria. Sometimes you need to make choices among conflicting criteria. For example, if you prefer a large urban campus, but the better Marine Biology programs are at rural coastal campuses, then you will have to compromise. See "Getting The Information"

4. Do research on the web

* ACT CollegeNet - Great College Search link
* California Colleges.edu - Developed jointly by public and private schools in California and the Department of Education this site includes college exploration and guidance.
* Campus Tours - virtual tours and a lot more
* The College Board - SAT information and a great college search program
* College home pages
* College Opportunities On Line (COOL) - Department of Education data base of 9000 U.S. colleges
* Illinois Library Gateway - various college ranking resources
* Local colleges - in depth information
* Peterson's Collegequest - includes a personal organizer, practice tests and discussion groups
* Princeton Review - the student perspective on schools
* US News - ranks colleges on a range of criteria

5. Narrow the choices
* Use "College Choice Worksheet". Call the Admissions Office or visit the college web site to find out about campus tours and open houses
* Schedule an appointment with an admissions representative. See "Making the Most of The Interview"
* After your visit, complete "Transfer Research Worksheet"
* Send a thank you note to anyone you met in person

6. Fill out "What Are Your..."

7. Congratulations on doing a thorough job choosing a college. Good luck with your applications.


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