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Deciding to go to college or go back to college is a big step. One of the most important factors to consider – in addition to what program to take – is what career college to attend. It can shape your future, influence your career path, and fundamentally transform your life. But with many options out there, how can you sift through the noise and identify the right school for you?
In the digital age, the answer lies at the intersection of personal preference, career college features, and online resources like Google Reviews. In this blog, we build upon 7 Signs to Look for When Choosing Your Career College to help you simplify your search by pinpointing not one, not two, but five key more factors you should consider when choosing a career college, including Google Reviews.
What are the Top 5 Factors in Choosing a College?
- Openly discuss tuition and financial aid options, admissions requirements, program structure, and expectations
- Has programs that are eligible for student aid funding
- Offers free student mental health support, and
- Offers on-campus and distance learning options
Let's explore five more factors that will help you with choosing a college that meets your needs, goals, and aspirations.
For this, start with making a list of 3-4 colleges from the Google search results and reach out to each of them. During these first interactions, ask questions to understand what the college culture is like. Here’s what to look for:
1. Truly Caring Community
Choosing a career college involves more than just selecting a course; it's about becoming part of a community that values your aspirations and supports your growth.
One of the first touchpoints in this process is the interactions with admissions advisors. The way an admissions advisor communicates with you can provide a snapshot of the college's overall approach towards its students. Watch out for their responsiveness, eagerness to assist, and the quality of their responses to your inquiries. Are they keen on understanding your individual needs and goals, or do they seem to be following a generic script?
Also take note of how you are treated in follow-up communications, whether through messages, emails, or phone calls. This will help you identify which colleges on your list really value your voice, carefully listen to your concerns, and genuinely want to support your learning journey compared to others.
2. Orientation Sessions & Tech Support
If you decide to enroll, what happens next?
- Are there orientation sessions?
- What do orientation sessions include?
- Is there a dedicated tech team ready to assist you whether studying online or on campus?
Make sure the college you choose offers robust orientation programs and easily accessible technical support. These elements can significantly impact your transition into college life and will lay the foundation for your success in college.
3. Class Sizes & Student-Centric Support
Ask about the size of your class. Class size can impact your learning experience. Smaller class sizes at career colleges often provide more personalized attention from instructors when they know you on a first-name basis.
Additionally, pay attention to the availability of support services at career colleges during your learning journey, such as:
- one-on-one sessions with instructors
- study groups with your classmates
- 24/7 access to mental health professionals, etc., as previously mentioned
These resources are integral to your academic success and will help you seamlessly complete your diploma program.
4. Career Services & Employment Rate
Investing in a college education is an essential step towards securing your future. It's key to choose a diploma that is valued by employers, gives you a competitive advantage in interviews, and propels you towards your career goals. For this, look for colleges that provide robust Career Services, practicum opportunities, resume-building workshops, and connections to potential employers.
You can ask the admissions advisors about the employment rate of their graduates from the diploma program you're considering. A high job placement rate at a career college indicates that the institution knows how to prepare its students for the job market and that you, too, can succeed using the tools this college offers to enter the workforce.
5. Career College Reputation
While researching colleges, take the time to explore student testimonials and reviews. These firsthand accounts can serve as a storehouse of invaluable insights for your decision-making, shedding light on the college culture, faculty expertise, approach to work, and overall student satisfaction. And the best place to do that is by analyzing the college’s Google Reviews.
Why is It Important to Explore Google Reviews for College Selection?
Currently, Google is the most popular online review platform. Millions flock to it every day to offer their thoughts on a recent experience with a particular product or service. This leads to the fact that today 91% of 18 to 34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their decision.
So, what can Google’s college reviews provide you with?
The value of Google Reviews is that they are honest evaluations written by unbiased third parties. There is no pressure to write something positive. Google Reviews give students and alumni the power to recount their experiences with authenticity. The lack of personal investment on the part of the reviewer gives Google Reviews added credibility.
What are you really looking for when you scroll through the college’s Google Reviews? Aside from favorable comments, you’re looking for people who remind you of yourself; people who are in the same stage of life or life circumstance as you – whether you are:
- unemployed and need a new direction
- looking to grow professionally
- in a dead-end job
- looking for a career that can provide more financial security
- single or have a family
- have a full-time job
The reviews can give you a sense of how people from a variety of circumstances, including yours, have succeeded in securing a brighter future with a particular college.
Actual Student Experiences
Google Reviews possess an unparalleled ability to reveal the facets of a college experience that official marketing materials could lack.
For example, by examining Google Reviews, you can find some heartfelt stories of how the college community rallied around a student during their tough times, creating a warm and inclusive environment that feels like family. Or you may find reviews that highlight how instructors in some colleges go the extra mile to provide personalized guidance, academic assistance, and mentorship for students to help them every step of the way.
These authentic students’ narratives can serve as a powerful tool in your college selection process, telling you much more about the heart and soul of a college than any official website.
What to Look for in Google Reviews When Choosing a College
Here are three elements to look out for when scrolling through the college's Google Reviews:
1. Learning Environment
The nature of the learning environment is a crucial factor to consider when scrolling through Google Reviews to find the right school for you. How have current students and alumni described the atmosphere at the college? Are people commenting on the welcoming and encouraging environment? Do the college instructors appear to support and uplift their students?
“I am grateful I am studying in this wonderful college with amazing and lovely people giving immense support to all their students. I had an amazing experience starting from inquiries to registration, student aid application, orientation, going through the courses for my program, tech support and practicum placement. All the staff and Instructors are very kind and accommodating. They are willing to go the extra mile to support their students. Many thanks and kudos to all the Sundance Team for all their commitment and dedication.”
2. Responsiveness of College
While you’re reading the college Google Reviews, take note of how responsive the college appears to be. Does it respond to every review, good and bad? Does it reinforce positive comments and attempt to mitigate negative ones? How a college responds to its Google Reviews gives you a good understanding of the nature of the school and the values it upholds.
You want to see your college of choice acknowledges and values the feedback being offered. So, if you decide to become a student there, you know your voice will also be heard.
3. Ratio of Positive to Negative
Are there more positive reviews than negative? Has the college tried to address any issues expressed? According to consumers, businesses that respond to all reviews, good and bad, are seen as 1.7x times more trustworthy than businesses that don't. Ensure that the positive reviews far outweigh the negative, however, when you do come across a negative comment, take note of how the college handles it.
Putting It All Together: The Five Key Factors to Choosing a Career College
From assessing the college culture to evaluating the employment rate of graduates, choosing a career college is a multi-faceted process. The right choice involves considering the five key factors: the quality of community, orientation and tech support, class sizes and support services, career services, and, finally, the college's reputation as reflected in Google Reviews.
These factors provide a comprehensive view of the college's approach to education, student support, career preparation, and overall commitment to its students' success. They also shed light on the experiences of other students, offering real-life insights that can be invaluable in your decision-making process.
Remember, choosing a career college is not only about deciding on a course of study. It's about selecting an institution that will support your journey, every step of the way, towards achieving your career goals and aspirations. So, take your time, do your research, ask questions, and read reviews. You're not just choosing a college; you're choosing your future. Make the choice count.
At Sundance College, we are dedicated to our students’ success. We work together towards one common goal – supporting our students on their journey to a new career and a brighter future. If you are considering becoming a student at Sundance College, please visit our website and get in touch with us. And, of course, be sure to check out our Google Reviews!