How to Select a College Wisely
You should roughly begin looking at college programs sometime during your sophomore year in high school. Go to college fairs around your area. First and foremost, you should be looking at the academics of the school, but you should also take into the account the social and athletic aspects. Things to consider include:
- Location (close to home? rural or urban?)
- Size (big name school? small school?
- Field of Study (do they offer your major? style of academic program?)
- Environment (religious? liberal? coed? public/private? Greek organizations?)
After making these considerations about the colleges, narrow your list down to 10-15 schools. Look at the baseball program. Research the program and see where you would fit in. Look at your skills; see if this program is a good fit for you athletically. Thank about what you can contribute to the program. Then think about college. Can you play at that level of baseball on a daily basis? Can you make the team? Can you play in your first year? Are you willing to sit on the bench for a year or two? There are all important questions that you must answer. Be honest with yourself and your ability.
Consider the college from a social standpoint. If you were to get hurt, would you be happy at the school without baseball? What clubs do they offer? Are there things to do around campus? If you are interested in joining a fraternity, what kind of Greek System do they offer?
Once you have narrowed your list down and answered these questions, begin sending letters to these schools and coaches.
Make sure you ask yourself these questions when determining which university matches your needs.
- What is the reputation of the college?
- Do they offer my field of study?
- What is the enrollment (large, small)?
- Are tutors available? Are they free?
- Where is the college located (city, rural, suburban)?
- How diverse is the college?
- Is the college co-ed? Are dorms co-ed?
- How close to home is the school?
- What is the average class size?
- What is the climate like?
- Are there employment opportunities with the school? Work-study?
- How much does one year of education cost (tuition, room, board, books & fees)?
- Are there out-of-state fees?
- Will I qualify for any academic or leadership grants?
- What are my chances of earning a scholarship or financial assistance?
- Are there any other financial aid avenues I should pursue (work-study, Pell Grants)?
- What is the cost of a dorm room?
- How much are the different meal plans?
These are all very important questions, so make sure you take time and think these through. For many of these questions, you are going to have to do some research or talk to the coach to gain answers. Take the initiative. Look up the school online. Call the admissions office to ask some questions or get a brochure on the school. Call the coach and let him know of your interest. The longer you wait, the less time you have to make an educated decision when choosing a college.