On many occasions, students will choose their college solely on the standings of a football team. If I’m not mistaken, the determining factor in the selection process should be qualified by the academic programs.
In my household, my oldest brother graduated from the University of Alabama, my second brother plays baseball at Auburn, and my parents graduated from the University of South Alabama. Sounds like a nightmare on game days right? Yes, I hear a lot of spirited arguments on which team is better than others. However, because I have personally visited each of these schools, I have seen the best that each program has to offer. They are all unique, and they contribute different academic environments for different majors.
I encourage that prospective students be objective while choosing their perfect University. Here are some questions to consider during the selection process.
Can I get accepted?
The requirements for admission varies from school to school. The ACT, SAT, and GPA considerations may be higher depending on if the university specializes in engineering, the medical field, law, or is rigorous in the business department. However, community colleges, junior colleges, or smaller four-year schools may have lower standards depending on the curriculum or the demographics of the student body. Find a school with your range of scores in their acceptance qualifications, so that your chances of admission are favorable.
Do they have my major?
Despite popular belief, not every school offers the same courses. If you are hoping to be an accountant, I doubt that you would choose a school that specializes in the arts. However, if that certain arts school happens to have the team that you root for on Saturdays, should that affect your decision? Absolutely not. Pick the university that has the best reputation for your major. It might be a difficult decision at first, but think of the long-term consequences.
How much will I have to pay and can I get scholarships?
Private universities, ivy league schools, and larger colleges tend to have higher tuition rates and qualifications for scholarship. The University for Alabama and Auburn University for instance, range from 25,000 to 30,000 dollars per year; If you are hoping to be given full tuition based on academics, expect to have at least a 30 on the ACT. However, there are multiple opportunities for scholarship in aid based on demographics, family life, accomplishments through high school, athletics, race, religion, and more! By the way, if you are a fan of the Fighting Irish and plan to attend Notre Dame, total costs are around 60,000 dollars. Just a helpful hint, one perk of being in the South is that we have statistically lower rates for a college education.
So you’re a senior in high school that wants to become an anesthesiologist. Obviously, going to a school that has a graduate program in the medical field would be a wise decision. However, you have been shouting “War Eagle!” your entire life and your family would be crushed if you decided to go anywhere but Auburn.
Adding to the scenario, a University of Alabama at Birmingham representative comes to your school during your lunch wave, and explains what an amazing anesthesiology program that they offer. Comparatively, UAB would be the best fit for you. So what do you choose? Ultimately, that decision is up to you; but I suggest that you put your navy and orange pom pom’s away, and pick up a degree from a school that will prepare you for your future.