Attending college in the U.S. is an investment, as the price tag tells us. Careful thought and consideration is necessary when applying to American universities. It requires much more consideration than simply filling in a few blanks on a form and sending the application to universities that sound good and have familiar names. There is a lot of research involved, and, in an ideal world, a visit to thecolleges of interest.
Becoming a university student in the United States is quite appealing. Given that there are over 3,000 higher education options in the U.S., students have many considerations. With this many choices, how should students decide where to apply?
Perhaps the search should start with size of universities. How large of a campus would you be comfortable with? Campuses range from the very small (under 2,000) to the very large (over 20,000), the latter of which essentially turn a university into town or a city (take, for instance, the University of Wisconsin—Madison). The breakdown might look like this:
Very large campuses often have large class sizes, a high student-to-faculty ratio, and span an extraordinary amount of acreage. During the first two years, some classes may be taught by teaching assistants (graduate students) rather than professors. Large schools may offer a wide variety of majors, and athletics often play a big role in campus life.
Smaller schools are, of course, smaller in size, student population, and campus expanse. Along with this smaller size comes smaller class sizes, lower student-to-faculty ratios with professors teaching most, if not all, classes. Smaller schools may emphasize hands-on experiences.
Here are some more questions to consider:
The U.S. is vast and states are grouped into regions:
You should also consider the myriad types of environment: whether a school is in a city, suburban area, small town, or agrarian surroundings. In terms of the 'physical' aspects of university, you need to determine what your comfort zone is. For example:
There is a lot to consider as you figure out the geography of the United States. Start by getting out a map and becoming familiar with U.S. beyond the usual 'name brand' states and cities (New York/NYC, California/L.A./Hollywood, Florida/Disneyland, Illinois/Chicago, etc.). See what other places have to offer — you might be surprised.