College Student Blog

17 Apr, 2008

The College Search Goes On

Posted by: Parker In: College Selection

Size Does Matter

When reviewing prospective colleges, always research how many undergraduate students attend the institution.

A smaller enrollment often equates to more one on one attention with professors and teaching assistants (TAs). Also, a smaller institution (under about 10,000 undergrads) usually means that less TAs will be used in the education process. Many colleges pride themselves on very low student to faculty ratio. This simply means that there are not as many graduate students teaching you.

However, do not be afraid of larger universities because you feel that you will never get to see a professor! In every one of my classes (even the ones of 600+ students), the professor always holds office hours and is almost always available for a brief chat after lectures.

My experiences with graduate student teaching assistants has also been very pleasant and enjoyable. All of my TAs have been extremely good communicators who know their material inside and out.

I have also heard horror stories from peers who tell me that their TA does not speak understandable English. I find this to be especially apparent in the math, computer science, and more technical fields.

Location, Location, Location

How far from home do you wish to be?

If you are planning on a community college, you are, most likely, planning to commute from your present home to school and back.

If you are planning on attending a four-year school, chances are you will be living on campus in a dorm (at least for your first year).

I suggest being “far enough” from home so that your parents don’t pull a surprise visit on you every other weekend. On the other hand, you probably do not want to commute over five to six hours to visit home and head back to school. Most students cannot or do not wish to pay for expensive flights as transportation.

Other students may be extremely adventurous and wish to study out of the country. Most students who study abroad simply use a university provided/recommended program for a semester.


Do you prefer an urban, suburban, or rural town?

Have you always wanted to live in a large urban city such as Chicago or New York? If so, you will want to narrow your college search to urban areas.

I would classify a stereotypical “college town” as both suburban and rural. To be more specific, the college itself is located within one or two averagely sized cities (50,000 to 100,000 residents), while those town(s) are commonly in a rural setting.

Corn and soybeans quickly become your only friend as you head out of my “college town” of Urbana – Champaign.

There’s More!?

Majors and minors will be up to bat in the next post of the College Selection Series.

As always, please drop me a comment or shoot me over an email. I thoroughly enjoy communicating with my readers!

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