A college degree shapes the career of an average teenager in the US. As of spring 2023, more than 34 million students are enrolled in post-secondary, undergraduate, and graduate-level programs across the country. That is about 10% of the total population. These numbers continue to grow every year.
With such a substantial chunk of students deciding on a career path annually, there is an imminent need to facilitate the process of finding them the place where they can pursue their passions. However, conventional methods like physical tours and assessments of various colleges can be time-consuming and expensive. So, how do you make your college search faster and cheaper?
Here are a few ways to do just that:
Four Ways To Make Your College Search Faster And Cheaper
1. Start by Locating the Best Resources Online
The internet offers a plethora of knowledge and information on all subjects and it is particularly effective when it comes to searching for colleges. Here are some of the things you can find online to make your search easier:
- College rankings: Since ratings and rankings are publicly available, there are a wide variety of platforms that are specifically designed in a way you can enter specific parameters and get college rankings accordingly. You can also access trusted and established global rankings through these websites,
- Verifying accreditation: Ever since the advent of online learning, a number of shady institutions have begun trying their luck online as it is easier to scam someone on the internet. On the flip side, you can readily access the US Department of Education website and verify the legitimacy of an institution by looking for its relevant accreditation status,
- Compare courses and offered degrees: The internet offers access to some of the best online educational resources for students. Chief amongst these are platforms where you can compare multiple colleges for not just the facilities, extracurricular activities, and job prospects they offer, but also their respective degrees and courses.
All this information and comparative analysis help you draw a clearer picture of which college you want to go to. And it takes just a few clicks, which means that you have all the facts you need to make an informed decision in no less than a few hours.
2. Begin the Search Early
If you want to make your college search faster and easier, you should start while in high school. How does this help, you may ask? Well, the primary incentive that it brings to the table is that you save time. Most people are unsure of which college they want to pursue and can end up taking gap years just to make a decision.
In some cases, this can hurt your career and future prospects. Therefore, it is best to start early and discover where your passions lie and where you would want to pursue that career path. Also, if you start early and plan to study somewhere far from home, you can get your applications ready in time and streamline other aspects like accommodation and scholarships, if needed.
3. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
The internet has another massive avenue that has transformed the hunt for colleges in this modern day and age. This medium is social media. The host of different platforms with varying methods of communication is just a treasure of information waiting to be explored. Here’s how social media can help with your college search:
- Connect with current students and alumni: One of the best ways to make your college search faster is to talk with the students who are already attending or have graduated from the institution you wish to enroll at. These people can provide practical insights about the college and whether going there can be worth your while or not.
- Ask for reviews and feedback: There are a plethora of Facebook groups dedicated to students of almost every college around the world. Once you join these platforms, you can ask for reviews on various aspects relevant to an institution.
- Use Twitter if you are confused: There are chances that talking to a lot of students will leave you confused. Twitter works great at dispelling some of these confusions. You only need to tweet by tagging the college you want answers from. Someone from the faculty and staff will respond to your query.
- Browse through the college’s social media handles: Pertinent to modern requirements, most colleges have their own social media accounts where they share regular updates about life on campus and various other developments they are a part of. These posts are a great way to get a glimpse of the opportunities you’ll have as part of an institution.
Social media can help you get more comprehensive information about the good and bad things regarding certain colleges. You may be surprised to have a pre-set notion about an institution shattered after talking to students who go there. Don’t be disheartened, though. It is your career and there is always a better place where you can start polishing it.
4. Attend College Events
Most colleges these days offer potential students the opportunity to visit the campus and observe some of the activities happening there. This is a great way for you to judge quickly whether you want to be a part of the institution or not because the facilities, attention to detail, and supportiveness of the staff can tell you a lot about life on campus.
Since a college campus is going to be your second home, you wouldn’t want to risk it. Also, if physical tours are not an option, a large number of colleges offer virtual ones as well. Their events are also streamed as live broadcasts, but the only drawback with that is that you won’t be able to interact with people who study and work there, at least not face-to-face.
Hunting for the right college is a major decision that you wouldn’t want to get wrong. Moreover, nowadays, education is more about pursuing a passion and not just about earning money, which makes the search even more critical. However, the process has always been time-consuming. Fortunately, with the internet and social media, the process has become much more streamlined, convenient, swift, and reliable at the same time. So, if you are looking for ways to make your search faster, look online.