Private vs. Public College

Private vs. Public College

Students will have to make many difficult decisions when it comes time to choose the right college. One of those decisions will have to do with whether to attend a public college or a private college. Many states feature great public and private universities. They have their strengths and there are some definite weaknesses to each school type. So, how does one choose? What are the things to keep in mind when making this difficult decision? Here are some of the pros and cons associated with choosing either a public college or a private one. Advantages of public collegesThe cost factor
One of the most important advantages of attending a public college is that it will cost less most of the time. This is especially true for a student who will attend a school in his or her state. How great are the savings? In some cases, a public school can cost half as much as a private school. Public school attendees are also eligible for more forms of state-funded financial aid. These are things to think about for the student that is worried about his debt load upon leaving college. The cost factor is a big selling point for public universities.Large alumni bases provide networking possibilities
Another nice thing about most public colleges is their size. A big alumni base can be helpful to a young person looking for a job. This is especially true when one considers that most public colleges have a wide offering of different major programs. With more alumni spread out over more industries, public schools have more to offer in the way of networking volume.Disadvantages of public colleges

Overwhelming size
The downside to most public colleges is the overwhelming size. Some students simply do not want or need to be in an environment that big. They would be much better off in a school that offered intimate class settings. Public universities tend to have larger individual class sizes for freshman courses. This can make the college transition a difficult one.

The bureaucracy of public colleges
Another thing to consider is how bureaucratic a public college can be. These are state run institutions. As such, there is little flexibility with some of the policies. Their departments can be difficult to work with for students. This is a practical issue that might come about when dealing with a registrar, the financial aid staff or in any disciplinary matters.

Advantages of private colleges

Smaller class size
One of the nice things about a private college is that it will typically be much smaller. This means that you will have an opportunity to form more of a community with your fellow students. You will also benefit from small individual class sizes. This will help the transition process. It will also help you get more out of the discussions in each class. Some students might not be looking for this kind of experience. Others will find it to be a refreshing change of pace.

Relationships with professors
One of the things that private schools offer is a more accessible faculty. The small nature of these universities means that people can form bonds with certain professors. This can make the learning environment much more fun. It can also help students who want to find jobs or internships. Professors can usually lend a helping hand for students who have a specific interest in one field or another.

Disadvantages of private colleges

The cost factor revisited
Private schools tend to cost a lot. They do not have the benefit of state funding. This means that they have to pass the cost on to students. Some students will find this to be a major deterrent. You should know that many private colleges come through with huge scholarship programs to help meet this cost. This is all dependent upon the individual school.

Smaller number of available majors
Another characteristic of private universities is that they typically have more targeted degree programs. Many public universities offer a wide range of different degree options. Private schools tend to focus on a few different areas. This can be problematic for students that are not quite sure what they want to do. Many students will change their major during the first year of college. Going to a school with limited options can cause a problem in this regard.

The College Interview Process

College Interview

Some colleges require an admissions interview before final admission is granted. Interviews may occur on campus, by telephone or through scheduling a visit to your home. If your school doesn’t require an interview, they may simply lack the resources to make appointments with every candidate. Generally, unless you are applying for scholarships or seeking admission at a top-tier school, the interviewing process is optional.
Candidates that are selected for interviews should prepare appropriately. If your grades are lacking, you can significantly improve your chances of admission by impressing the interviewer with your communication skills. For applicants with excellent grades, test scores and essays the interview process will not be weighed as heavily as the application will speak for itself.
Dress appropriately and avoid dressing casually. Men should wear a suit and tie when possible or dress pants and a dress shirt at the minimum. Women should wear a dress or a pantsuit and appropriate shoes. It’s important to avoid dressing informally. Don’t be embarrassed about dressing up for an interview. It’s better to look too well-dressed than sloppy.
Arrive early and figure out the location of the interview, how long it will take you to get there and plan on arriving 10 minutes early. If you are too early, it may create awkwardness if the interviewer isn’t yet ready for you. Arriving late will reflect badly on you and force the interviewer to conduct a condensed and hurried interview.

College Interview:

College Prep Tip:

Prepare and Ask Questions

When you enter the room for the interview, make sure to introduce yourself and shake the hand of the interviewer. Ask permission to sit if the interviewer doesn’t tell you to sit down within a few moments.
The interviewer will begin by asking you questions. Be prepared to talk about your extra-curricular activities, life goals, intended major and why you feel this particular college is right for you. Avoid providing generic explanations. If you can show the interview that you have some knowledge of the school and an understanding of why it is a good fit, your chances of getting accepted will increase dramatically.
Once the interviewer has finished asking you questions, it is your chance to ask him a few questions. Keep it to two or three questions that can’t easily be found with a quick search on the Internet or through the school website. If you ask questions that can easily be answered with a visit to the college homepage, it will appear that you haven’t given much specific thought to the college.

College Interview Tip:

 Mock Interviews
Nobody expects you to walk into an interview for the first time and conduct yourself perfectly. Interviewing takes practice. Ask a close friend, parent, family member or teacher to help you prepare for the interview. Take the interview seriously, practice the initial entrance, dress appropriately and practice thinking before you speak. It is okay to take a few seconds to gather your thoughts before answering. Thinking about your responses shows the interview you are intentional and careful with your statements.
When possible, record the interview so that you can watch your mannerisms and improve. While you can ask the person conducting the mock interview about anything that went poorly, seeing yourself in action helps you to see your weaknesses and improve. Avoid interjection words such as “like” or “um.” Instead, try and use transitional words, such as “therefore,” “additionally” or “however.”

College Interview Tip:

Avoid turning your personality into a caricature of your true self. Interviewers are skilled at knowing when a person is just acting the part. If you aren’t a good match for the school, don’t force yourself on a school. Be yourself so that you have a fair chance of determining if the school is a good match for your personality. Most importantly, enjoy the interview process. Interject subtle yet appropriate humor if it seems appropriate. Conversely, if the interviewer is all business, avoid making jokes, since the interviewer may feel you are not taking the interview seriously.

College Interview Tip:

Schedule Wisely
Arrange your schedule so that the first interviews are with the schools that you won’t be upset if you don’t get accepted to. However, avoiding scheduling interviews with schools just to gain practice. Instead of wasting people’s time, you can get interviewing help with the local employment office or with the help of your friends and family. Interviews may last from 15 minutes to an hour or more. Don’t make any plans for immediately before or after the interview.

College Interview Tip:

Thank the Interviewer
Shake the hand of the interviewer when the interview concludes. The next day, send a thank you note as a follow-up. The interviewer may appreciate the extra consideration and it gives you a chance to show your interest in the school one last time. Be professional and express your gratefulness for his time and your continued interest in the school. Do not send gifts since they may be misconstrued as a bribe.

How to Choose a College Once You’ve Been Accepted

College Decision

Though it probably feels like getting accepted into several colleges or universities of your choice would be a great problem to have in the spring of your senior year, it will end up being more of a curse than a blessing. Making the final decision about where to spend the next four years, which program best suites you and dealing with the financial aspect is nothing short of overwhelming, especially when they are several good choices.  Remember, make a decision based on you and your needs rather than what your peers are doing or not doing. An undergraduate degree plays a major role in a person’s career.

Look at the material
When you visited college campuses on a college tour or trip, refer back to any handouts of brochures you were given. Jot down as many notes as possible to help make an informed decision.  It will help to lay out any material you have to visually see what you like and dislike about each school. It’s nearly impossible to be objective without having all of the facts. Try to remember what you were thinking and feeling while you were standing on each campus or speaking with an admission’s officer. Decide which ones immediately stand out in your mind.

Do some additional research
While thinking about your final decision, write down any questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to surf the Internet to get answers or simply call the campus to ask away. An admission’s officer will have the answer to most concerns you will have. These people can help you to feel confident about your decision and ensure you choose the right school for next year.

Be practical
For many students, cost is an important factor in making your decision. If you are being offered a particularly generous financial aid package or scholarships from one of your top school — it may help to bump it ahead of the competition. Similarly, an acceptance from a good state school with a great deal for students in the state can be tough to pass up if cost is a big component of your choice. Also, you may want to consider other practical matters, like the location of the school and how far from home you would be while attending college.

Chat with your parents
By talking to someone you respect like a parent, sibling, professor or counselor, you will be able to bounce off ideas in regards to pros and cons. Getting advice from people who know you the best can help when trying to pick the “right choice” out of many options. Simply talking about it with others will help in the long run to be the perfect balance between objective and emotional. A guidance counselor may also be able to help you to narrow your options and a parent may have insights from going along on the process with you.

Once a college becomes your number one pick, tell your family and friends the good news and then immediately let the school know you’re accepting their invitation to be part of their college. The best part of all of this will be the ending to the college search process and knowing SAT prep is long behind you.

Can Your Facebook Profile Hurt Your Chance of Getting Into College?

It has been said that one’s past can come back to haunt. Social media networks are a prime example, especially considering the many high school students who have damaged the reputation of not only themselves but others as well.

Though posting pictures, status updates and information on Facebook or other social network sites is perfectly acceptable, it is still something that users should air on the side of caution before doing so.

Potential employers and colleges admissions officers will often conduct a background check on applicants. Social media networks and blogs are subject to these checks. Although Facebook can be a valuable tool when used appropriately by students, these networks can also be damaging if too much is exposed.

Social media networks are not the place for disagreements or to slander former friends and those you do not like. This, along with a lack respect for authority figures, parents and teachers are not desirable traits a college looks for in a student.

Regardless of a remarkable grade point average or high SAT scores, posting hate messages, abusive language, vulgar words and inappropriate photographs, are viewed as a reflection of one’s character. Social network profiles are judged by colleges, potential employers, new friends, co-workers and business acquaintances.

A college may view your social network post in the past and present, they are subject to the rejection or acceptance into the college of your choice. Colleges have an obligation as an institution to select students who have the potential of becoming tomorrow’s leaders in business, finance, medicine and science.

Practice damage control now and think, before you post.



Tips for Retaking the SAT

Colleges and Universities schools rarely consider students with scores below their standards, so getting as close to their school’s average or above puts an applicant as an advantage. Unfortunately, not everyone receives their ideal score after taking the SAT just once.

Maybe the first time you took the SAT you didn’t prepare. You told yourself you were going to and maybe even bought a book to help you review but just never put in the time. Maybe you were the exact opposite and enrolled in a prep course, spent every weekend studying and carried vocabulary flashcards around with you and all of that work still didn’t amount to the score you wanted. Both are common scenarios and there is an answer for you if you fit into one of these two categories.

The SAT is not like the usual test you will face in high school, so it makes sense to utilize a strong SAT prep course that fits into your schedule. The idea is to get comfortable with the format and learn strategies to maximize results. Timing is very important throughout the SAT. Each of the three main sections has three subsections, each with its own time limit. In general, the easy questions are at the beginning and harder questions come at the end, but this is not always the case. One strategy you can explore and practice online is to blitz through an entire multiple-choice section, answering the questions that you’re at least somewhat sure of but marking some for review later. Just skip questions that are confusing or too difficult, but leave a few minutes at the very end to go back and guess at the answers. A blank counts as a wrong answer, so don’t leave any question blank.

By not even knowing what to expect on the test, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You won’t be nearly as confident and probably won’t get through as many questions as you would have hoped. On the other hand, by studying too much, you’re essentially drowning your brain with an overload of information so when it comes time for common sense questions, you’ll end up overanalyzing and probably miss questions that you shouldn’t.

By enrolling in a free online SAT prep course, you can move at your own pace and take breaks as often as possible. Unlike a classroom, you won’t get left behind on questions you don’t understand or stay stuck on skills already mastered. You can track your own progress and create a study plan that works for you. The course includes as many as eight timed practice tests. Taking these will help you get comfortable with the SAT format, which can do a lot to help you reach your best score. After taking the test twice, you’ll know for sure where your strengths and weaknesses are; which sections you score highly on, and which give you trouble.

Admissions Interviews

A college admissions interview can be an intimidating part of the college application process. Most students will be able to relax and do their best when they realize that an interview is just one part of your complete package and just as much about giving you a chance to ask questions as it will be about the college asking questions to you.

Preparing for the Interview
Before the interview, be sure that you know a little about the school so that you can sound well-informed and ask the right questions. Come with a few questions already in your head so you will have something ready when the admissions officer asks if you have any questions for him or her.

You will want to make a good impression from the very second you walk into the interview and that begins with being properly dressed, business casual attire will be right for most admissions interviews. Have a few copies of your resume on hand, as well as a notepad and pen in case you need to write anything down. When you meet the interviewer, be polite and professional, a good handshake will get things off to a good start.

Answering Questions
Be courteous and engaging when you answer questions and try to make eye contact with your interviewer. You can be funny and personable in the interview, this is a chance to show the college admissions office what sets you apart from other applicants. Use your responses to highlight your strengths and offer them insights into your academic record, interests, and best qualities that may not be evident from your written application. This is not the time for modesty, be sure to emphasize your successes and show them what you would bring to their school. Be sure to think through your answers and avoid “umms”, “likes”, and other filler words that can creep into conversation when you’re nervous.

After the Interview
Send a thank you note to the person with whom you interviewed. This is another chance to get your name in front of him or her and be sure you have made the best impression possible. If you think of questions later, don’t hesitate to contact that person again if they have said that they will be available to you throughout the process. Well thought-out questions will show your interest in the school and that you have done your homework.

A college admissions interview is a great opportunity to meet with someone from each of your top schools in a one-on-one setting. Learn the basics and you’ll be sure to make a great impression.

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