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Guidance to help high school students select the right college and program

Choosing a Major

College freshman are frequently asked the question “What are you going to major in?”

Choosing A College

Depending on your personal interests, the following characteristics should play a role in helping you narrow down the field of colleges.

High School Students Are You Ready?

If you are planning to go to college after high school, there are things you must do in preparation. How do you know you’re ready? To get “your quotient”, find out what you know, and what you need to know by answering “y” or “n” to the following:

1. I have researched the course requirements for entering those colleges in which I am interested.
2. I know that I don't have to make a final decision on my major in order to be accepted for admission.
3. I know how my grades and test scores stack up with the competition at certain colleges in which I am interested.
4. I know the kinds of curriculums available at the different colleges.
5. I understand the many ways students can gain advanced standing and academic credit at college.
6. My parents and I have discussed the financial aspects of attending college, and have begun to investgate ways to pay for it.
7. I know that applying for admission does not automatically make me an applicant for financial aid.
8. I have visited the campuses of those colleges in which I am interested.
9. I have a calendar plan for taking the tests which are required for admission.
10. I know that even if I don't get accepted at any of the colleges to which I apply, I should continue to keep looking until I find a college that matches my interests, abilities and goals.
11. I have studied the future job prospects of the careers in which I may have an interest.

You answered questions with Yes.

*Find the number that corresponds to your response:
0-3 Get Started!       4-7 You have much to do!      
8-9 You have some work to do!       10-11 You are ready!

Print out and use this to help you plan for the upcoming year. By the end of the year everything should be checked.

Print List

This will not be printed.

Choosing the Right College
Questions to Ask College Recruiters
Choosing a Major

Depending on your personal interests, the following characteristics should play a role in helping you narrow down the field of colleges.

  • Public
  • Private, independent
  • Private, church affiliated
  • Proprietary
  • Very small (fewer than 1,000 students)
  • Small (1,000-3,999 students)
  • Medium (4,000-8,999 students)
  • Large (9,000-19,000 students)
  • Very Large (more than 20,000 students)
  • Rural
  • Small town
  • Suburban
  • Urban
  • In your hometown
  • Less than 3 hours from home
  • More than 3 hours from home
  • Dorm
  • Off-camous apartment
  • Home
  • Facilities and services for students with disabilities
  • All male
  • All female
  • Coed
  • Minority representation
  • Primarily one religious denomination
  • Primarily full-time students
  • Primarily part-time students
  • Primarily commuter students
  • Primarily residential students
  • Majors offered
  • Student-faculty ratio
  • Faculty teaching reputation
  • Instruction by professors versus teaching assistants
  • Facilities (such as classrooms and labs)
  • Libraries
  • Independent study available
  • International study available
  • Internships available
  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Loans
  • Work-study program
  • Part-time or full-time jobs
  • Academic counseling
  • Career/placement counseling
  • Personal counseling
  • Student health facilities
  • Clubs, organizations
  • Greek life
  • Athletics, intramurals
  • Other
  • Division I, II, or III
  • Sports offered
  • Scholarships available
  • Gifted student services
  • Services for student with disabilities or special needs

Questions to Ask College Recruiters

Admissions || Tuition || Financial Aid || Dormitory Living || Extra-Curricular || Counseling || Health

College Fairs and visits by representatives to your school are great ways to get information about colleges. Here are some questions to ask recruiters about their colleges. The answers should help you make decisions about which school to attend.

  • What are the admissions requirements?
  • What SAT/ACT scores are acceptable?
  • Are these scores more important than high school transcript?
  • Would it be helpful to have letters of recommendation?
  • Do extra-curricular activities and hobbies influence a student's chance of
    being accepted?
  • How long does the admissions process take once the application is submitted?

  • What is the yearly cost of tuition and fees?
  • What is the cost of living in a dormitory?
  • How much of a deposit is required to hold dormitiory space?
  • Can cost be deferred? If so, for how long?

  • What types of financial aid are available?
  • Can students request deferment until financial aid is processed?
  • Does the school have financial aid sources if a student is ineligible for
    Federal funds?

  • How many dormitories are on campus?
  • Does the college offer off-campus living?
  • How many students share a room?
  • What type of amenities are available (laundry, recreation space, online
    access for computers, etc.)?

  • What organizations are on campus?
  • Are these clubs related to major fields of study?

  • What types of counseling services are offered to a freshman?
  • Is peer counseling available?
  • Is there a job placement service offered?
  • Are there additional support services for students who have unique and unusual
    problems? For example, difficulty adjusting to campus life.
  • Is tutorial assistance available?

  • Is there a nurse or doctor on duty? To what extent can they help?

Choosing the Right College

Self Assessment

Before selecting a major it is important to do a self assessment Think about:

  • who you are
  • your strengths and
  • your weakness
  • your interests
  • your abilities
  • your favorite subjects and the ones you like least
  • your career interests, and
  • how much time and money you are willing to invest in your education


Once you have thought about and answered these questions, begin to do some research.

  • Review the college catalogs for courses outlines and descriptions.
  • Talk with students who are taking courses and majoring in subjects that interest you- get an idea of what the curriculum is like from a student's perspective.
  • Meet with college advisor and professors to get information about course work, expections (standard and implied), and suggested sequence of courses.
  • Gather information about careers that interest you to find out the required courses and projection for employment in the future.

Moving Ahead With Time To Decide

Keep in mind that decisions made in your freshman year are not final. Many students select their major during the spring of their sophomore year. For those students who, as freshman, are uncertain about a major, this delay gives then almost two years of college experience and, often, a better sense of their interests and abilities. (Note: Some area of study, especially the sciences, may require students to start a sequence of cources in the freshman year in order to complete the major in four years).

One more important thing to remember is that the choice of a major is yours.

More and more adults are fitting college into schedules already packed with family responsibilities, demanding jobs, and other activities. Most want to improve or expand job skills. Many want to earn or complete a degree they started a while ago.
Some want the personal satisfaction of learning. If you are thinking about returning to the classroom, here are some guides to help you plan.

Finding the time

Between work, play and family responsibilities, you might wonder where you’ll find the time to go back to school. The fact is you’llhave to make the time! Consider taking a course that may fit your lunch hour. Think about weekend college or evening school. There are even distance learning courses that are as close as your computer or mailbox! If the desire is there, there’s a way for you to do it.

Finding the financing

Financial aid programs that are available through private, state, and federal resources may be the answer to the dollar problem. Talk with an MEOC counselor about the availability of financial aid and how to go about applying for it.

Forget about cold feet

Don’t even think about it! There are people over 80 years old who have gone back to school! Chances are, if you do find yourself in a class with younger students, the only person thinking about the age difference is you.

Returning to school offers a number of payoffs

  • Increased earning power
  • Satisfaction of accomplishment
  • Emergence of a new, more confident YOU.


  • Have a clear sense of your goals.
  • What do you plan to study?
  • How do you plan to do it? Will you attend part-time? full-time?
  • What end result do you want — a degree, personal fulfillment, etc.?

Colleges and Admission

Talk with admissions officers at colleges that interest you. Tell them:

  • How old you are,
  • What credits you’ve earned, if any, and,
  • When you earned them. Some colleges have different requirements for students over a certain age, whether those students have earned credit elsewhere or not.

Get Informed

Find out:

  • Whether your credits will be accepted for transfer if you have attended college before.
  • How you can earn credits for knowledge you’ve gained over the years


Find out what support the college offers:

  • Networking services
  • Child care
  • Orientation
  • Re-entry counseling
  • Tutoring

Financial Aid

  • Inquire about campus based, state and federal financial aid programs
  • Complete appropriate financial aid forms.

About Us

MEOC is a community based program that provides free counseling, information and technical assistance to adults and youths interested in going to college or other postsecondary schools.

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