This is a guest post from our featured author, Jenna Smith.  Welcome back, Jenna!

Choosing a college is one of the most stressful decisions that a student can make.

For this reason, it is important for teachers and advisers to be prepared to guide their students to think pragmatically as they maneuver their way through the college application process.

Every college has its own unique set of characteristics designed to help students with varying needs. So, it is important to utilize every available resource. Therefore, the following ideas provide a starting point for anyone helping a student find a college meeting their future goals:

Discuss Degree Programs

While all colleges and universities offer basic academic courses, the majority of them specialize in certain degree programs. If the student already knows of their intended major, then this can be helpful for narrowing down their choices. For example, a student who interested in working in the medical field will want to ensure they choose a college with a strong degree program in health care services. This then enables them to begin a career after graduation.

Narrow Down Specifics

Even if a school has the perfect degree program, it will only be beneficial if it is also in the right location and is financially affordable. Additionally, students will need to consider if they would like flexible course plans such as online classes or hybrid courses.

Many universities also offer their students a significant amount of prestige as they have a proven track record for turning out successful graduates. If a student will be living on-campus, then they will also need to explore the school’s options for room and board. Off-campus students should research the average rental costs in the local area. This ensures that their living arrangements will be suitable.

Encourage Exploration

Once a student has decided upon their desired characteristics for college, they must explore a variety of options in order to narrow the list down. Fortunately, the process of meeting with admissions staff has been made easier through services such as CollegeWeekLive college tours. Here, students explore their options virtually by searching the basic specifications they developed for their perfect school.

When teachers and advisers extend their help to students, they are more likely to choose a school guiding them closer to their goals. For this reason, educators need to help a student consider what they desire most in a school. Then, they can explore their options and meet with admissions staff in order to make a final and educated decision.