You need to read this if you have high school-age kids considering sending them to study abroad in the US. If you want to learn more about how higher education systems operate outside of , you may read this as well:
But that wasn’t all; my son’s counselor also informed us about these unassuming small colleges that concentrate on undergraduate studies and serve as a type of feeder institution for the major universities ( for graduate programs).
We were, to put it mildly, completely perplexed. On the one hand, we tended to favor well-known names; after all, how could we possibly go wrong by going to and, presumably, being accepted into MIT or Berkeley? Any young kid will have the best foundation, thanks to it. But on the other hand, when we visited with our son’s counselor, we were kindly informed that this might not be the best way to approach the situation.
He advised looking at what is the best fit rather than taking the obvious route of selecting what is “better” for your child. This is a brand-new one, we observed. The meaning of “best fit.”
And he added that when deciding which universities are the best in , we often use “hard considerations” such as the colleges in Sacramento reputation as inferred from rankings and broad brand awareness. So, if your child is top-performing and inclined toward the sciences, you start leaning towards MITs and Berkeleys, whereas if it’s humanities, you might think about Ivies, for instance. However, the US system discourages us from making decisions in this manner. There is no such thing as the best college, say counselors and even college admissions officers:
“Your children have many possibilities for higher education, as there are more than 3,800 colleges in the United States. However, you must assist them in limiting their options. CollegeBoard, the organization that administers the SAT and provides a wealth of resources for students, states that the question students should be asking is not “Which are the finest universities?” but rather “Which are the best institutions for me?”
Remember that the student will be at college for four years, so “fitting in” is crucial if they are to enjoy the experience and succeed.
What elements must be taken into account to evaluate fit?
- Undergraduate Program Size: The idea that an undergraduate program in a college may include 800 to 1000 students or more is frequently unclear to those in . That span is broad. Additionally, colleges (as opposed to universities) that primarily concentrate on undergraduate education typically offer smaller programs.
- Strictness: Every parent hopes their kid will get into one of the best colleges. But if the child enrolls in an institution that is too competitive for him, his life can become a nightmare. On the other hand, a few hundred institutions in the US are rated as being of very high quality, so keep that in mind once more. Therefore, selecting a college where the student has a good chance of succeeding is preferable to choosing a location where things get too tricky.
- Colleges that only accept female students: Did you know that many reputable colleges in the US only accept female students? Despite how antiquated the concept may sound, these universities provide benefits, particularly for international students. In addition, many of these universities are well-funded, and they also offer lots of options. Lastly, certain people may thrive in a setting with just girls. They might gain self-assurance and flourish.
- Location: This might be a nice-to-have element. Please keep in mind, however, that universities in the US are dispersed over rural, semi-urban, and urban areas.
- Research opportunities: Research projects are a fantastic choice if your youngster prefers “doing” and learning. Although most of us identify research with master’s and doctorate degrees, many US colleges offer exciting undergraduate research opportunities, some more so than others. Therefore, looking into this issue could also be a good idea.
- Campus life: Campus life might vary greatly amongst colleges. There are more “liberal” colleges than others. Some institutions allow you to participate in sororities and fraternities (also known as Greek life), whereas in others, you can feel pressured to fit in. Although, as parents, we might not give much thought to campus life, this may be a crucial factor for the student who will spend four years. The degree to which the n student community is active is related. Some kids miss and long for food, cultural encounters, or company connections. Once more, specific colleges and universities have n associations and communities, while others, particularly the smaller ones, might not. Spend some time figuring this out as well, then.
So, with the elements in place, the first step is to conduct a thorough search and compile a list of relevant institutions and universities. Then, apply the factors mentioned earlier and others in a prioritized manner to create a shortlist.