1. WHAT IS THE QUALITY OF THE ACADEMICS, CAMPUS LIFE, AND RESOURCES?
What do you think attracts most students to a college? Location? Programs? Reputation? Whatever your priority is in a school, remember that the right institution should have more than just academics. Your school of choice needs to help you become a whole person – mind, body, and spirit.
Every college that you consider should have a satisfying and enriching campus community and practical and useful resources for you and your career, alongside quality academics and programs. If a school is lacking even one of these, you’ll be missing out. This is one of the largest investments of your life, and you must access the highest quality in studies, campus, and community life. Look for a college that offers valuable avenues for your future, such as career counseling and opportunities to study abroad.
2. WILL I FEEL SUPPORTED BY THIS COLLEGE COMMUNITY?
Nothing is more important than being guided and prepared for the world by a faculty who puts God first. At IWU, we believe that spiritual transformation involves not only an inward experience of God’s grace in our lives, but also an outward expression of love and compassion for others. In a Christian campus environment, you’ll be able to clearly seek God’s direction for your life around other Christians who have been in your shoes. You’ll be able to put into practice your beliefs among others, and you’ll have significant opportunities to make an impact. Seek out schools that have an encouraging faculty who are not just teachers, but who are also mentors and friends. Choose an atmosphere that helps you achieve your goals so that you can pursue your unique path.
3. WILL I RECEIVE PRACTICAL GUIDANCE AND DIRECTION FOR MY CAREER?
Are you undecided on what to study? Maybe you simply need confirmation in your choice. It’s not that uncommon. In fact, an estimated 20-50 percent of entering freshman haven’t yet settled on their major. This is why it’s crucial to decide on a college that provides different options to pursue. Also very important are professors who are truly engaged with their students in a tight-knit class, as opposed to teachers’ assistants taking over in a sea of faces. With a smaller class setting and a very student-focused faculty, you’ll receive more attention from your teachers and will experience more in your preferred field of study. Students from liberal arts schools are very attractive to employers, since such schools typically require students to write papers, give class presentations, learn the value of collaboration, and gain real-world experience. Go with a school where teachers dedicate themselves to your success. That’s what they’re there for.
4. ARE CHRISTIAN FAITH AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION AN IMPORTANT PART OF THIS CAMPUS?
In today’s world, it’s more important than ever that students of faith choose a supportive environment. At a Christ-centered college or university, your beliefs will be nurtured and strengthened. In a hectic public college atmosphere, it can be difficult to connect with other believers; you may be in dangerous territory where your Christian walk slips away from you over time. You may even find professors and classmates openly challenging your beliefs. At IWU, our Life Calling & Career Department provides undergraduates with learning experiences and services that foster faith, integrative learning, virtue, and the discernment of life calling. The School of Life Calling and Integrative Learning enables students to find a higher purpose in their life that equips them to make faith-based decisions and to become Godly leaders.
5. DOES THIS SCHOOL HAVE PROVEN OUTCOMES?
Sure, the college you choose may be empowering, fun, and educational – but then what? After graduation, how difficult will it be to get a job in your chosen field? Be sure to ask this very important question to the admissions team of any school you’re considering. Have them tell you about student success stories. Inquire about stats and percentages. How have graduates been impacted by the college? What are their lives like now? What is their situation like with any outstanding financial aid? If you need answers, the admissions team has them!
6. WHAT ARE MY NEXT STEPS?
It’s an absolute must to visit each college you’re interested in. Don’t be intimidated if it seems out of your price range – most of the time, financial aid can reduce the price. Visit every school you’re considering and begin a dialogue with the admissions team. Ask questions. Don’t be shy. Remember, you’re not committing, you’re simply having a conversation. Keep in mind that admissions offices will often arrange for a “test drive”, which usually means an overnight stay, meetings with professors, and the opportunity to sit in on classes that may interest you. Ask others who have gone to the schools you’re interested in about their experiences with academics, faculty, the campus, and community life.