More than two million students enter college each year with the expectation that the colleges they attend will take care of them when problems and emergencies pop up. Some students will be pleased with the way their college responds to their issues while others will be disappointed, some may even be outraged.
So many things happen on college campuses today that incoming students never anticipate. To make better comparisons, include these factors when evaluating colleges to attend.
College Comparison Factors
1. Credible Information - Does the college do a good job of informing students about the good, the bad and the ugly?
2. Environment - Are Administrators and Professors student- oriented? Are they concerned about student learning and success?
3. Students - Are fellow students happy, friendly and helpful? Be sure to speak with as many students as possible. Try to talk to some students in your field of study.
4. Crime - Are the campus and surrounding areas safe? How many thefts take place on campus each year? Does the college provide students with statistics and safety advice? How effective is the Security Force? How many students were robbed or assaulted last year?
5. Rape and Sexual Assaults - Does your college report and publish statistics on rapes? Is rape prevention training provided to students? Are rapists dealt with quickly and firmly? How many rapes have taken place during the past five years?
6. Drug Usage - How prevalent are drugs at this college? When was the last drug raid? What kind of help do addicted students receive? How many deaths have resulted from the use of drugs?
7. Alcohol - Is this a party school? Is alcohol allowed on campus?
8. Hazing - Do Sororities, Fraternities, Clubs, Organizations and Honor Societies use Hazing, as part of their initiation process?
9. Deaths - On average, how many students die each year? What is the five-year history of deaths?
10. Emergency Notification Procedures - Keeping students safe when there is a dangerous person on campus is critical. What is the procedure? How effective has it been in the past?
11. Medical Help - How responsive and effective is the Campus Medical Department? How far is the hospital? Do students know how to get help, when there is a medical emergency?
12. Tutoring - Is tutoring available to students in your field of study? Is help available from your Professors?
13. Diversity - Are there Students, Administrators and Professors of many different races, religions and cultures on your campus, in the dorms and the classrooms?
14. Harassment - How does your college deal with students who consistently harass others? Are the students being harassed informed of their options and rights?
15. Dispute Resolution - Is there a dispute resolution process in place and communicated to students? Does it work?
16. Employment Assistance - Since Job Search Preparation is an ongoing process that begins in the first year of college and ends when the student accepts a job, does the college put enough time, people and resources into helping students get prepared?
17. Clubs, Organizations and Activities - Colleges that offer an enjoyable college experience provide a variety of ways for students to learn, participate, contribute and succeed. Does the college meet your needs in this area?
18. Parking - Students with automobiles should investigate the availability, fees, rules and penalties regarding parking on campus. Is the parking situation acceptable to you?
19. On-time Graduation Rates - The availability of required classes can be a problem for students, as they near graduation. Does the college give preference to upper class students who must get into a class, in order to graduate? Paying for another semester is an expensive solution.
20. Counseling Services - Large numbers of students receive counseling. What is the availability and effectiveness of the counselors you may need?
21. Cost / Reputation - Does the college have a good reputation in your field of study? How many employers visit the college to recruit students in your field? Should you consider going to a more expensive college, one that attracts employers in your field?
As students and their parents research, visit and evaluate the colleges on their list, they should dig in deeply to uncover the information necessary to make a decision that is right for them. Since this list is not all-inclusive, students and parents can add to it, before they start to make comparisons. Students should make certain that they identify the colleges that will have their backs.