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Selecting the Right College

You should read this if you have high school-aged kids and are thinking about sending them to study abroad in the US.

If you simply want to learn more about how universities operate in nations other than India, you can read this as well:

When my son, who is currently finishing his junior or third year of college in the US, started looking into his options, I first became aware of the variety of options and types of schools there. We finished our study on the prestigious and esteemed institutions, including a few Ivies, MITs, Stanfords, and comparable institutions, like all “informed” parents do. When I looked at some of the prestigious public universities, like Berkeley and Virginia, the options overwhelmed me. But my son’s advisor didn’t stop there; he also informed us about these modest colleges in Colorado Springs that concentrate on undergraduate studies and serve as feeder institutions for the larger universities ( for graduate programs).

When we discussed this with our son’s counselor, he kindly informed us that this might not be the best course of action.

He advised looking at what is the best match rather than selecting what looks to be “better” for your child. This one is new, as we’ve seen. The meaning of “best fit”

And he said that while choosing which institutions are the best in India, we typically use “hard elements” such as the college’s reputation as inferred from rankings and widespread brand recognition.  There is no such thing as the best university, according to counselors and even members of the college admissions staff:

Your children have many possibilities for higher education thanks to the more than 3,800 universities in the US. You must assist them in focusing their options. Which colleges are best for me?  The child will spend four years in college, thus “fitting in” is crucial for success and happiness.

What elements must be taken into account while evaluating fit?

Undergraduate Program Size

It is usually unclear to those of us in India that an undergraduate program in an institution may have 800 to 1000 students or more. It’s a large area. Additionally, colleges (as opposed to universities) that concentrate primarily on undergraduate education typically offer lesser programs. Due to the fact that undergrad programs are still a relatively recent trend among Indian students, we typically don’t hear as much about the latter sort.

Many of these schools provide a very welcoming environment and, more importantly, give undergraduate students their complete attention, in contrast to huge research institutions that emphasize master’s and doctoral students. At these colleges, it can be more challenging to get the professor’s attention due to larger class sizes.

Therefore, you might want to give a major university some serious consideration if your child excels in a smaller, more individualized atmosphere. Because my child attends a small school that has been really helpful for him, I can state this with assurance. So if you’re just starting your search, be sure to look into these organizations as well.

However, the bigger areas offer more choices, feel less “clannish,” and are more anonymous. Some people might find this works better.


Every parent wants their kid to go to a prestigious university. If the child enrolls in a school that is too competitive for him, his life can become a nightmare. Keep in mind that the US only has a few schools that are considered to be of the highest caliber. Therefore, picking a college with a high chance of success is preferable to picking a school with too many challenges.

Female-only colleges

Did you know that there are numerous prestigious universities in the US that only accept female students? Despite how antiquated the concept may sound, these universities provide benefits, particularly for international students. Many of these universities have solid financial support and provide a variety of options. Not to add that certain individuals might thrive in an environment with exclusively females. They might become self-assured and succeed.


This element might be unnecessary. But please keep the following in mind: In the US, campuses are dispersed throughout urban, suburban, and rural areas. Rural campuses are typically the biggest and prettiest, but they are also the furthest away and need more time to travel to. Although urban campuses are frequently smaller and don’t typically provide housing for students after their freshmen or first year, they may be handy. On-campus housing may be safer and more practical for the majority of students, particularly international students who may not be as familiar with the local culture, may not have cars, and may have many demands put on their financial resources. Where a student chooses to study may also be influenced by their other interests and the options for pursuing them on or off school. Naturally, the weather also has a significant influence.

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