Our mission at The Best Colleges is to help match you with the best school for your academic goals. We understand the importance of considering factors like location, learning style, and delivery format when weighing your options. Our commitment to assisting you in the selection process means we are constantly updating admissions and enrollment information from the some of the nation’s best accredited colleges and universities.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional campus-based college or an online school, one thing is for sure: you’re not alone in the quest to further your education and stack the deck in your favor when it comes to your career. Over the last 14 years, undergraduate enrollment at degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by more than 30%, and it is expected to continue to rise at least 14% more by 2025.
Though opinions may differ about the value of a college degree, recent studies show that employers prefer college-educated workers, especially in the economy’s fastest-growing sectors like technology. Employers have also shown that they are willing to pay higher wages to secure college graduates to those jobs.
Additionally, nearly a quarter of all undergraduates participate in distance education, proving that flexibility is just as important to working students who are studying online as wage equality and a competitive edge in the job market. Whatever your particular needs may be in your state of residence, we can help you to make an informed decision about choosing the right college.
Why Consider Colleges Near Me?
As residents who live near a state school, the benefits of attending an on-campus program might seem obvious: access to on-site learning resources including libraries, computer labs, and counselors; face-to-face interaction with your instructors and peers; and participation in on-campus activities, among other perks. But many students don’t realize the same benefits apply to online programs when you enroll at your local college or university.
Students in online courses have the option of going to campus and taking advantage of the same resources as traditional students, and may even opt for a hybrid program, which includes half-online, half-classroom study. Though some schools have different tuition rates for online students altogether, others offer in-state tuition for local online students, which is often lower than out-of-state tuition.
How to Choose a College Near Me
There are a variety of factors to consider when deciding where to go to college. Obviously, making sure that the program you seek is available at your school of choice is of crucial importance. If your major is undecided or you are considering dual majors, you may want to browse the school’s selection of “open studies” or intercurricular options for undergraduates. Cost also plays a major role in the decision process. When determining how to choose a college, researching the total cost of tuition and fees at your local school is important. Remember to look for discounts for in-state students, as well as potential financial aid based on need and/or available merit scholarships to help offset learning expenses.
If you are not yet familiar with just how important your school’s reputation and accreditation are, now is the time to get acquainted. From grad school applications to job interviews, the reputation of your school will come into play both throughout your higher learning experience and well into your career. It is a good idea to gather research from diverse independent sources through internet searches and within your community. That can help you get a feel of your school’s character and influence among those who know.
Accreditation, or a school’s endorsement approved by an independent education accrediting agency, is a necessity when choosing the right college. A school must undergo a months-long process to meet exacting national standards to earn accreditation. Any school on your list that has been recognized nationally as providing legitimate academic programs should be accredited. When doing your research, it is imperative that you note what kind of accreditation each school has, and which agency (or agencies) the school is accredited by. Many schools are accredited by their respective regional agency, such as the Middle States or Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.
All degree programs are not created equal. While some students may have a bit of flexibility around which program they settle on, others may have stringent requirements attached to their degree. Nursing students, aspiring counselors, and teachers, for example, are typically required to satisfy clinical hours, obtain certification or licensure, and maintain continuing education credentials after they graduate. Choosing the right college near you could make meeting those requirements easier because many of these fields have varying state-specific mandates.
From grad school prereqs to career conditions, programs that require a clinical component and/or licensure should be researched thoroughly to make sure curriculum addresses the distinct needs of these fields. A program should also specify whether or not it prepares students to sit for the exams required to obtain certification or licensure in their field of expertise.
If you are interested in finding out which schools offer the program you’re interested in, check out our rankings page, where we’ve listed both traditional and online college rankings, showcasing the best schools and the top degree programs. Our lists and rankings are constantly evolving and are updated regularly, so be sure to check back soon!
Traditional campus-based schools are listed alphabetically by state. Online schools are listed together in alphabetical order under the “Choosing an Online School” link. Click on the school’s name to see its profile page with information on the school’s history, mission, degree programs, tuition, financial aid, admissions, and more.