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Check out our new Study Hall Channel: https://www.youtube.com/studyhall

In this episode of Crash Course: How to College, Erica helps us think about how to best choose the right school for us. There's a lot to think about, like: what kind of learner you are, what kind of environment you like, how to know if your school is looking out for your success, what kinds of support do different schools offer, and of course what do you want to study?

Crash Course: How to College is part of Study Hall, a partnership between ASU and Crash Course. Head over to our new Study Hall channel to check out our Fast Guide series which break down different college majors.

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Watch our videos and review your learning with the Crash Course App!
Download here for Apple Devices: https://apple.co/3d4eyZo
Download here for Android Devices: https://bit.ly/2SrDulJ

Crash Course is on Patreon! You can support us directly by signing up at http://www.patreon.com/crashcourse

Thanks to the following patrons for their generous monthly contributions that help keep Crash Course free for everyone forever:
Dave Freeman, Hasan Jamal, DL Singfield, Lisa Owen, Jeremy Mysliwiec, Amelia Ryczek, Ken Davidian, Stephen Akuffo, Toni Miles, Erin Switzer, Steve Segreto, Michael M. Varughese, Kyle & Katherine Callahan, Laurel Stevens, Vincent, Michael Wang, Stacey Gillespie (Stacey J), Alexis B, Burt Humburg, Aziz Y, Shanta, DAVID MORTON HUDSON, Perry Joyce, Scott Harrison, Mark & Susan Billian, Junrong Eric Zhu, Rachel Creager, Breanna Bosso, Matt Curls, Tim Kwist, Jonathan Zbikowski, Jennifer Killen, Sarah & Nathan Catchings, team dorsey, Trevin Beattie, Divonne Holmes à Court, Eric Koslow, Jennifer, Dineen, Indika Siriwardena, Khaled El Shalakany, Jason Rostoker, Shawn Arnold, Siobhán, Ken Penttinen, Nathan Taylor, Les Aker, ClareG, Rizwan Kassim, Alex Hackman, Jirat, Katie Dean, Avi Yashchin, NileMatotle, Wai Jack Sin, Ian Dundore, Justin, Mark, Caleb Weeks
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Before I decided what college I wanted to go to, I wanted to be a glassblower.

When I decided not to do that, I applied to schools for a linguistics major. And if I hadn't chosen either of those paths, I might have gone to community college and transferred to a four-year school later.

There are no wrong choices, but there are a lot of choices, and that can be overwhelming. When it comes to choosing the right school for you, it starts with picking an institution that's truly committed to supporting your success as a student. That includes helping students get good grades, but it's also about offering programs and resources that empower you to excel inside and outside of the classroom.

Hi, I'm Erica Brozovsky and this is Crash Course: How to College, a Study Hall series presented in partnership with Arizona State University and Crash Course.

[Intro]

As college students, we want to be somewhere that prioritizes our success, and that means finding a place that will support us from start to finish. And that support might look different for everyone, so finding the right school starts with advocating for yourself. And one way to start this self-advocacy journey is to think about yourself as a learner.

Maybe you're someone who likes to hole up and read everything you can about true crime. or maybe you're someone who likes to meet up with friends and binge the latest docu-series - or both! Another way to advocate for yourself is to identify your priorities. Maybe getting a job is the most important thing to you.

Ask the alumni office at your potential school about job placement rates and whether the school has a good relationship with local employers. If you're interested in a skills-based job -- like a mechanic or an electrician or a medical assistant -- you might find that a community college, or maybe a trade school is the best fit. You'll get specialized training for a specific job or industry.

Or if you're interested in a job in law or medicine or teaching, those careers tend to have education or certification requirements you'll want to make sure your college can satisfy. Some schools are for-profit, which means they want to enroll as many students as possible to maximize the money they earn. In some cases, they don't have enough resources in place to support students, so it's important to use caution when considering these types of schools.

You should also be aware of whether a school is accredited. Accreditation is important because it tells you whether the schools' academic and training programs met quality educational standards. Thinking about your goals and researching a school before you commit to it is another form of self-advocacy.

You can also advocate for yourself by exploring useful resources before you enroll at a college. By checking out college websites or even specific programs they offer, you can look for useful resources like tutoring, mental health counseling, or whatever you think you might need based on your learning style and priorities. One of the most effective ways to learn more about these resources is to talk to a current or former student.

Admissions offices are usually happy to connect  prospective students with current students. Many schools even have Ambassadors whose job is to talk to new and prospective students. Talking to other people can be helpful too.

Before making your decision, contact schools of interest to speak with an admissions counselor. An admissions counselor can help you learn more about the school and assist you with scheduling a college visit. If I was touring a college campus, I’d be interested in asking questions about the student life, clubs, and the food on campus.

Prepare for your visit by making a list of questions you want answered. Create a checklist of things you want to accomplish at each college. Be sure to pay attention to things like what the surrounding community is like, whether there are nearby attractions or landmarks, and whether the campus is in a small rural town or a big city.

Even asking about the weather can really help inform your decision. Can’t make it to a campus in person? That’s okay!

Many schools offer virtual campus visits, and websites like YouVisit and CampusTours compile online campus tours in one place. Speaking of online resources, you can consult reputable websites and databases, such as College Board and Cappex, to find information about admission rates, demographics, graduation rates, accreditation, class sizes, and more.

You can also use the College Scorecard, which is a tool created by the U.S. Department of Education to help prospective students compare colleges. This data will help you understand the type of experience you might have as a student at the college.

For example, according to the Carnegie Classification, a school is classified as “small” if it has less than 5,000 students. So, if you attend a small school, chances are your class size will be small, too. Smaller class sizes usually mean more one-on-one time with your professor for learning support.

If this is important to you, you may want to take note of this information when it comes time to research colleges. Now that we’ve talked about some ways you can advocate for yourself as a prospective college student, let’s look at the types of colleges you can choose from. With nearly 4,000 colleges in the United States, we’ve got a wide range of colleges to consider.

If you’re considering a trade school—the type of institution we talked about earlier— you can expect to complete your diploma or certificate program within two years or less. And once you complete your training, you may  go into an apprenticeship that allows you to get additional hands-on job training. Another type is a community college, where you could pursue a certificate within one year or less, or you can get an associate’s degree, which can be earned within about two years.

For some people, it may take more time. And the third option is a four-year college, which offers bachelor’s degrees in a range of subjects. Some go straight to a four-year school after they graduate high school.

Others may go on to attend a four-year school after completion of their associate’s degree. In addition to bachelor’s degrees, most four-year colleges and universities offer certificate programs, master’s degrees, and doctoral programs. If you attend a four-year school, you will have the option to live at home, stay in an on-campus residence hall (also called a dorm), or live in off-campus housing.

That last option is usually only available to juniors and seniors, though this varies between schools. Even though we refer to these schools as “four-year colleges”, the time it takes to complete your degree may vary. Keep in mind that you can complete your certificate or degree at your own pace, but it’s important to note any restrictions the college may have.

Some four-year institutions require students to complete the degree within seven to ten years. And just like there are different types of trade schools, there are different types of four year colleges. For instance, a four-year college can be public, which means it’s usually larger and  gets funding from the state government.

Or you can choose a private four-year college, which means the school relies on endowments and tuition. As a result, private colleges usually cost more, but many of these schools offer substantial  financial aid packages and scholarships, which we’ll talk more about in a future episode With all these options, you might be wondering how you can narrow them down. You may want to consider the time commitment, the financial cost, and how you want to learn.

Prospective college students choose  colleges for different reasons. Some people focus on where the school is located. Other people choose a college based on the type of degree they can earn there.

As a prospective student, you might choose a college based on several factors, such as admission requirements, academic programs, costs, and other key factors. And one of those other key factors may be the structure of the course itself. In this day and age, courses are delivered in multiple ways, or course modalities.

The most common course modalities are online, in-person, and hybrid. Online learning can be synchronous or asynchronous; synchronous learning is when you and your peers all attend class at the same time. Asynchronous learning is when you and your peers access the course at different times.

Instructors sometimes include both synchronous and asynchronous sessions into the class. In-person courses are delivered face-to-face. In an in-person course, you, your classmates, and your instructor come together at the same time each week in the classroom. In a hybrid learning environment, some classes are delivered online while others are delivered in-person.

Your instructor will create a schedule that will outline when you need to attend the course in-person and when you need to attend online. Ultimately, there’s a lot to  think about when it comes to choosing the college that is right for you. The tips that we’ve talked about today can help you learn about your options and ask the right questions.

Start researching potential colleges and  the resources they offer ahead of time. For most people, this will be at least three to six months before the deadline to apply to the college. Identify at least one person who can support you as you take this step; this could be a family member, friend, guidance counselor, or another person you trust.

Keep track of your findings in a spreadsheet, word document, or notepad app on your phone. And last but not least, remember that each step you take in this process gets you closer to finding the best option for you. Thanks for watching this episode of Crash Course How to College.

This series is part of an expanded program called Study Hall. Crash Course has partnered with Arizona State University to launch Study Hall on its own channel. Check out youtube.com/studyhall where you’ll  find more tips about navigating college, choosing a major, plus foundational courses connected to college credit courses that students struggle most with in their first 2 years.

We hope you see you over there!