Six Steps to Picking a College to Match a Career Choice

Jul 9, 2019 by

If you know what career you want to pursue, finding a college that offers a program in your field of choice is the first step to getting a quality education, gaining experience, and job placement when you graduate. Choosing a college is among the most exciting decisions you will ever make. It is a giant step towards the career you have always dreamed of having.

Consider the Options

Ask yourself, ‘Do I want to live far away or close to home?’ ‘Do I want a small college or a large university?’ and ‘What are the costs?’ Students today have an abundance of higher education opportunities.

Some travel away from home to attend a four-year college. Others enroll in classes offered online without leaving home. Universities and colleges are amazing places to explore career opportunities, meet new people, and hone skills.

Determine the General Category of a Career

General categories include:

  • Business Administration
  • Medical
  • Education
  • Social Services
  • Computer Science
  • Political Science
  • Liberal Arts
  • Engineering

Meet with your school’s guidance counselor or visit a career center to learn about jobs matching your natural abilities. Narrow the professional goals to specific lines of work. There is no need to panic if you are undecided.

Many universities and colleges offer numerous chances to shape long term goals. Some organizations and universities provide career matching services online. They provide the user with a means of narrowing the general category into possible employers and job titles.

Develop a Criteria List to Evaluate and Eliminate Colleges

With a list of what is important to you, the gathering information about specific schools phase begins. Use the criteria to make a manageable number of schools to research. Common criteria include:

  • Accreditation
  • Degrees offered
  • Financial assistance available
  • Location
  • Private vs. public
  • Religious affiliation
  • Tuition and room and board costs
  • Housing Options
  • Reputation
  • Safety
  • Class size
  • Student body makeup
  • Faculty contact
  • Student population
  • Campus resources
  • Social Life
  • Graduation rate
  • Placement success
  • Realistic entry expectations

Look for Information on the Recommended Degree Programs

Those with specific career goals find choosing a school to be easier. Some professions require a four-year degree from a university. Other kinds of work require a vocational certificate or two-year degree.

Many universities and colleges are strong in some educational programs and weak in others. It is easier to match an educational program to career goals when you know the career you want to pursue.

To locate schools that offer specific degrees or categories of degrees, use a university or college directory such as Yahoo Education, Degree Match, Search by Degree, or Academic Info. Use a list of specialized degrees like that located at All Schools to research degree programs, medical schools, law, dental, photography, bartending, cooking, and acting.

Run a search on your favorite search engine. If your interests lie in liberal arts, do a ‘liberal arts degrees’ search. Search ‘library science degrees’ if wanting information about a library science degree.

Apply to the Schools that Make the Cut

The number of schools for which to apply is partially dependent on your financial situation. Most colleges charge an application fee. It is recommended to apply to a couple of ‘reach’ or dream schools that have small odds of being accepted, up to four schools where acceptance is likely, and a ‘safety’ school where admission is a shoo-in. The decision of the type and number to apply for is up to you. Some people only apply to the best schools that made the cut.

Consider Financial Aid

When you receive acceptance letters and require financial assistance, look closely at the offers. Schools are sometimes willing to negotiate. If you would like to attend a school that offers low aid, consider contacting the institution and make a counteroffer.

In conclusion

Choosing a college is extremely personal and often stressful. There is usually more than one college that meets the criteria you use in your selection. Keep in mind what a college should be. It should be a place you feel comfortable but are challenged to do better.

There should be opportunities to study what fascinates you, help clarify career plans, work at internships, join clubs, and play sports you are interested in playing. No matter the industry, employers want people who have learned how to learn, can communicate well and can solve problems.

That kind of education is available without breaking the bank. With so many schools from which to choose and a variety of available financial aid, there is almost always a college that will meet your budget and needs.

Author Bio

Anne Baron is highly experienced educator, writer and copywriter specializing in academic research. She has a Ph.D. in Educational Administration with almost 25 years of experience in teaching and academic writing.  She spent a dozen years managing a large college peer-tutoring program and another dozen years in the classroom teaching college students.  She has since retired from teaching and devotes her time and efforts to freelance writing for institutions, businesses and colleges like Patrick Henry College.

Our Social Media:

Facebook | Linkedin | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.