A Simple Checklist Helps Teens Find Colleges That Fit
With thousands of colleges to choose from, deciding where to apply can be an intimidating prospect. How will your teen know which colleges are a good fit?
The best way to start is to make a list of features your teen would like in a college. Then your teen can research—online, at the library and by talking to counselors, teachers and friends—to see which schools meet those desires.
Here are some things your teen may want to include on the list:
- Location. Does your teen want to stay close to home or try someplace farther away?
- Size. The size of the student populations at different schools varies greatly. Does your teen want small, large or something in between?
- Major. There's no need to make a firm decision now, but your teen should write down some areas of interest. Not every college may offer all of them.
- Housing. Does your teen want to live at home, in a dorm or in an apartment?
- School life. Does it matter to your teen if the school has a winning football team? Does your teen want a lively social scene?
- Teaching. Colleges differ in the amount of research they expect from their professors. That in turn dictates how much time professors can spend with students. Will your teen want a close relationship with a professor, or will it be fine to work with a teaching assistant or independently? How important is class size to your teen?
- Cost. Start planning for college expenses now. For information on federal student aid, check out the Federal Student Aid Office of the U.S. Department of Education.
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Thomas Jefferson Middle School
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