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The Selection Process

A critical component of the college-going process is selecting an institution that offers what a student needs to succeed. We recommend considering the following factors when selecting an institution:

Degree Programs

Some institutions may specialize in certain degrees and programs like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which is known for its programs in engineering, science, and computing. While most institutions offer an array of degree programs, attending an institution with a specialization may create greater opportunities for students interested in those specific fields. 

Admission Requirements

Competitive institutions will have rigorous requirements for students to be admitted. This can include having a high GPA, high test scores on the ACT/SAT, multiple writing prompts, and/or an interview. We recommend students investigate admission requirements early on in their high school career so that they work on being admissible by the time they graduate.  

Cost of Attendance

Tuition rates for colleges and universities vary depending on the institution type. For example, community colleges usually have the lowest rates followed by state colleges and universities. Private institutions may charge more but also offer greater scholarship opportunities for students. As a result, students must research the cost of attendance before selecting.  

Student Support Services

For some students, support services will be essential in earning a diploma. Yet student support looks different at every institution. There are institutions that pride themselves on taking a hands-on approach while others may be limited in their services. An example of a student support service is the Nepantla Program at Nevada State College that helps empower first-generation college students through mentorship, academic skills, access to resources, community building, and professional success through self-discovery. 

Learning Environment

Students may determine their own learning environment; however, it may be impacted by the institution itself. The size of a campus, for instance, can shape a student’s experience. Smaller campuses typically have less students which translates to smaller classes and individualized support. Campuses with intramural activities, clubs, and Greek life offer students numerous ways to engage and increased school spirit. Students will want to select an institution with a learning environment that enhances their experience.  

Campus Visits

Students can learn about an institution online, through a brochure, or a presentation. This approach provides detailed information about degree programs, admission requirements, and the cost of attendance. Even so, we encourage students to visit each institution they are considering before deciding. By visiting a campus, students will get a feel for the learning environment and how it lives up to their expectations. We understand visiting an institution may not always be feasible, but many colleges and universities now offer virtual tours.  

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