Explore Options and Make Decisions

As you consider your next step beyond high school, ask yourself which road you want to take. Are you college-bound? Will you seek a four-year bachelor's degree or pursue a two-year associate degree? Are you inclined to pursue a technical field? Once you decide what you'd like to do after graduation (aside from throwing your cap joyously in the air), you'll want help making decisions about which type of school, job, internship or course of study is right for you. The steps you take today impact the outcomes of your tomorrows so take the time to consider the many factors involved in planning your future. Use the following plan to aid your decision-making process.

Collect information. Every careful decision begins with building a wide base of information

  • Contact schools that interest you and ask for brochures and course catalogues.
  • Attend local college and career fairs to meet current students or representatives who can answer your questions and give you ideas about their schools or places of employment.
  • Schedule tours of college campuses and explore the Web sites of the schools or places of business that seem interesting or inviting.
  • Once you have gathered literature, connected with people and searched the sites, use this information to answer the questions you have about whether or not the place is a good fit for you.

Ask questions. When making decisions about which schools are right for you, ask yourself as well as other students, admissions officers, professors and tour guides the following questions:

  • Does the school have the program that I want to pursue? How strong is this department? Are there many courses available that match my interest in this course of study?
  • What is the timetable for my course of study? Will I be able to graduate in a set amount of time? Are the required courses available each semester?
  • What extra curricular or pre-professional opportunities exist? Do the clubs, teams, publications, internship opportunities or volunteer organizations match my interests?
  • How does this school or course of study prepare me for my anticipated career? What mentoring or internship opportunities are available? What professional, cultural and social options are available to students in the city or town?
  • What are the housing options for students? How does living on campus, renting off campus, or commuting from home impact the experience of attending this school?
  • What financial aid opportunities exist? What are the tuition costs and student fees? Is work-study available? What scholarships might be available?