Choosing a College: Where Do You Start?

College rankings are a good starting place to begin comparing different universities, but when it comes to finding the best fit for you, there are a number of factors that can help you make the right decision. Keep the following in mind when beginning your college search in Greenville and Upstate South Carolina:

Consider your interests

What schools excel in your areas of interest? If you’re seeking a business administration of accounting degree, find out which schools have excellent programs. Analyze where you want to be in the next two-to-four years and how the resources at each institution will help you achieve your educational and career goals. What will make or break your college experience?

Choosing between online and traditional classrooms

For adults returning to school, one of the most important aspects of your college search is finding a university that fits your needs. Online programs offer flexible schedules, often allowing students to watch class at any time. That’s valuable to any adult engrossed in a hectic schedule. However, if you’re seeking more personal attention and face-to-face interactions with your professor and classmates, an online program might not be a good fit for you. You may also want more access to career networking tools, library resources, and tutoring. Those tools are harder to find in an online program. Therefore, consider your investment when choosing a college. What is most valuable to you?

Ask the right questions

What’s the average class size? Will you receive individualized attention from your professors? What resources are available to you if your classes are online? These are often much more important to your overall satisfaction than the university’s prestige or test scores. Make sure you do your research and never hesitate to reach out to current students.

Explore financial aid

Financial aid packages are an important part of the decision. Look for scholarships at local and national levels. There are scholarships available specifically for adult learners through websites such as scholarships.com and fastweb.com. Tuition reimbursement plans from your current employer are another great way to fund your education. Check with your employer to learn if your company will cover a portion of your college expenses. Finally, consider a student loan. Federal student loans from the U.S. Department of Education are the most common form of educational loans and can be applied for through FAFSA.

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