How to select the right college?
Before you begin to make a list of colleges, it is best to spend some quality time thinking truthfully about yourself. Rather than make a list of colleges you think you can get into or that will be acceptable to your friends, you need to ask yourself a few important questions: What are your needs? What type of environment brings out the best in you?
Once you have a good feel for the type of college environment you are looking for, narrowing down your options and making a great match is much easier. If you skip this process, your odds of picking a good match are slim. Think for yourself and know that what is right for your friends or siblings may not be what is right for you.
What follows are just a few things you need to think about:
- What kind of person do you want the college you select to help you become?
- Which of your gifts and talents would you like to develop?
- What kind of relationships do students have with the faculty?
- How academically competitive are you?
- Are you self-motivated or do you need close personal attention? (Your response here can mean the difference between a large or small college.)
- Would you be happier as part of a larger college community with larger classes and, most likely, teaching assistants versus full-time professors in introductory classes?
- Do you function best in a place where everyone is “like you” or would you enjoy greater diversity in a student body? Diversity should be defined as a community who celebrates all cultures equally. (A Christian college will offer this!)
- Some colleges will require the selection of a major right away. Others, like Westmont, will not require the selection of a major until the end of your sophomore year. This is a big decision. It requires time, advice and prayer.
- If your faith is important to you and you are interested in learning how to be a more serious follower of Jesus Christ while growing intellectually, then you would want to consider a Christian college. In a Christian college you will learn to witness God’s hand in all subjects – from accounting to dance! Major employers are welcoming graduates from Christian colleges because they are competent and possess strong values.
- What would you most like to change about yourself? Why? Can the college you select help you with that? (It can in small colleges where you have easy access to professors and programs.)
- What values are truly important to you (spiritual character, political, financial)? How will your college environment affect these values? Will they offer equal and unbiased information?
- Do you learn best in classes with lots of discussion and where all classes are taught by full time professors? Where your thoughts and opinions are important?
- In which part of the country do you want to live? Close to home? On the opposite coast? Are you adventuresome? Remember, if you have grown up in sunny southern California, the winters in Massachusetts can either be very dreary or very exciting. Which are you?
- Do you prefer a large, rural city? Or a suburban environment? Most small colleges are always within 50-100 miles of a larger city, so you have the “best of both worlds”.
- Do you want to have lots of travel opportunities to other countries? (Westmont offers over 65 travel abroad programs.) Would you like to be involved in short and long-term mission outreach? In the past, Westmont students have served in Guatemala, Bolivia, Spain, Israel, Uganda, Nepal, China, Japan, and Indonesia.