Important things to consider when you are researching colleges:
- Is the school and program accredited? You do not want to get all the way to the end to find out that your degree cannot get you the job. Schools and programs must fulfill certain requirements in order to maintain accreditation for their programs. If you attend an unaccredited school you will find that your credits won’t transfer to another school, your degree might not satisfy the requirements for certification or licensure, or your degree might not get you into the interview. Be aware and ask questions!
- Be aware of any certifications or licensures that might be required for your career. For example, teachers must get a teaching certificate in the state where they will work. In order to get the certificate, teachers must graduate from an accredited teaching program, pass a couple of big exams, and pass a background check. Other requirements will vary based on the state. Remember: Certification and licensure requirements are different from state to state! If you know what state you want to live in, research their requirements by going to the job’s state governing board’s website.
- Choose the college because of the major, not the other way around. If your dream college doesn’t offer the major that you’re interested in, then they aren’t meant for you. Do not compromise your career goals to be able to claim a certain alma mater.
- Be conscious of cost! Understand what financial aid might be available to you. Consider money saving options in necessary- apply for grants, scholarships, and student loans. Consider taking core curriculum courses (ie. English, Speech, Fine Arts) at a community college where they are offered cheaper.
- If you are planning on transferring credits, make sure you verify that the credits will transfer BEFORE you take the class!! Again, this can be related to whether the school has accreditation. In order to find out if courses transfer, visit the website of the school where you want the credits sent. Search for “course equivalencies” for that school. If you have any trouble, feel free to contact your counselor or the college counselor.