Choosing A College

Choosing A College

Colleges offer an incredible array of technical programs, certifications and courses. It is essential to conclude the areas of research which interest you before beginning your search. Remember, that if you must continue working, part-time options are available. It is best to apply to a few institutions if you are able to, in order to have a back-up option. Recognizing what you are looking for from this experience is key, and may help you determine the appropriate place to live and learn, based on your personal lifestyle habits. It is not uncommon for students to change their area of study once in school.


Consider what factors will be contributing to your overall expenses. The most obvious expense to consider is tuition fees. These are usually paid for ‘per semester’. Generally, community colleges tend to be cheaper, as they tend to have shorter programs. Taking a shorter program is one way of cutting costs; however people are increasingly attending community college programs after full four year university programs in order to become more competitive on the job market. Part-time study is more accessible due to its flexible schedule and because it is way cheaper in comparison to full programs.

Choosing A College1

Part-time study does tend to last longer than regular programs, with the time increasing for online courses. The cost of housing and travel is also very important. Most colleges offer on-residence living and cheaper bus passes. Two more expenses needing consideration are books and food. The campus is often more expensive than anywhere else; this may be especially taxing if you have special dietary needs. Luckily, the cost for both of these can be greatly reduced if planned for properly. Many campuses also offer food banks. Books are a significant expense, so try to share if you have someone in your class who you can trust. You can also check if you have any student-run organizations which buy back or resell textbooks.
Student loans are available to help students cover these costs. Colleges also offer grants and scholarships for their outstanding students.


Some colleges offer on-residence living, as well as resources to help you move in, off-campus. Living further from campus will obviously incur larger costs, from commuting by car or bus. Even bus fare can become a tedious expense to plan for, if you end up living far from campus. This is more likely to be true for night students.

Many students choose to rent a house together. Living off-campus may be cheaper than on-campus living, but landlords tend to raise their prices around campuses. Landlords often rent their homes specifically targeting students, renting out single rooms at comparable prices. For instance, some landlords rent out their houses during the regular school semesters, and do repairs during the summers. This may result in an 8-month lease. Alternatively, some students without that option choose to sublet their rooms during the summer.

The specialization of the school will influence if your college is closer to the country or the city. Those which are specialized in the agricultural sector will tend to be in a location appropriate to their field. Medical schools will be closer to hospitals which they are tied to through their research.

It is useful to consider if the college you are looking at is part of a larger city infrastructure, or if it is far from necessities, such as your job, or health services. You may also want to consider a location with access to special foods, such as larger cities with businesses catering to vegans and vegetarians, or to those with a halal or kosher diet.

Key Points

Planning is the key to success in school.

Keep a close eye on your school’s schedule for important dates.

Keep in mind that different schools have different specializations, which may be more or less suited to your plans.

School materials can usually be obtained through secondary avenues. Even though everyone seems to be buying the course books brand new from the main bookstore, you can probably find the same books for inconceivably cheaper. This can often be done by looking at your school’s classifieds online, by looking at ads on campus, or by sharing or buying used books.

Finally and most importantly, give yourself a chance! Go for what you believe you really want to do.