Picking a college or University can be overwhelming, information overload. Colleges like many U.S. cities, are excellent at self promotion. Who knew that Indianapolis, Indiana could be so fun? If you read THIS site you can read about what a great place it is! Well I’ll tell you how fun Indianapolis, Indiana is, NO FUN at ALL! Don’t waste your time visiting, the place sucks. So you’re doing the college research and you want to learn about a particular college or town. Check out Studentsreview.com.
Do I recommend you use only use Studentsreview.com in selecting a College or University? Absolutely not, I’m sure a College Prowler book for each of your top 3 picks wouldn’t hurt (not affiliated in any way). College Prowler goes a little more in depth than Studentsreview.com and has the tell all reviews for Academics, Dining, Housing, Girls, Guys, and Location. There is a lot of free information on the SITE but I recommend buying the books for your top 3 schools and comparing them.
Just keep in mind that information overload is more likely to prevent you from making a decision rather than help you make one. You want concrete information in your decision making such as what will your experiences be like at the college, in that city, after college, what will the quality of education be like? How does the rest of the world value an education at such and such University? Do people tend to leave or stick around in that town after graduation? Does the State experience Brain Drain? And most important, does faculty/staff/alumni interact with students and recent graduates?
I cannot emphasize more how important networking is to the development of your career or how an incompetent faculty can ruin college for must students. For example, you may be shocked to find that graduates of Stevens Institute of Technology make on average $60,900 while Harvard graduates make on average $50,700. Does that mean the world places a higher value on a degree from Stevens Institute of Technology? Not necessarily, personally I’ve never heard of the school before. The difference is in the care to which faculty at Stevens Institute of Technology take to place their graduates in strong careers and build strong networking opportunities for their graduates. Payscale.com does a great job breaking down Schools and Majors that Pay.
Eliminate the fluff, the brochures and your next door neighbours opinions, make concrete decisions. If you’re paying more attention to things like where your friends are going or your favourite sports teams and ignoring things like student – faculty interaction and average starting salaries, you’re missing the big picture.
A note on Longevity: It is now common knowledge that we are in an education bubble, colleges are offering too little value at a very high price. When the bubble pops, most colleges will become extinct, make sure yours isn’t one of them. You’ll want an ongoing alumni network you can be a part of.