By: Shelley R.Ruth

It is understandable that you would want a guarantee in life that you have made the right decision when picking your college. Like many who have been through this process before, I can attest to the weight and the enormity of this decision. An educational choice is one of the bigger decisions we will make in life. It is an investment in so many ways – cost, time, and quality of life to name a few.

I believe the best way to make a college choice is to narrow the factors that mean the most to you and your unique situation.  Included below are some examples of questions you might consider when doing your research:

1. Can I afford this school? Considering your cost of attendance can include many factors including but not limited to the tuition cost. For example; are there educational fees associated with tuition? Does the institution require activities fees associated with the amenities of the college i.e. extracurricular events? Is this a local university that you would have to factor in transportation costs and parking fees? Does the school require freshman students to live in campus housing? Are there scholarships available that you might apply for? Does the College participate in the Title IV funding programs that the federal government offers?

2. Can I commit to the time necessary to succeed at this institution? Contrary to popular belief, not all college classrooms are the same. Specifically, some classes may require lab components while others may require you to participate in collaborative sessions outside of the normal class times. Some online courses require mandated attendance at specific times while others allow you to log into your class as your schedule allows. Some colleges even offer a hybrid program of study that allows you to attend partially online and partially at the campus. Finally, given the academic rigor of the program you choose, you should be able to determine the amount of time necessary outside of the classroom to complete your studies.

3. What is the quality of life like as a student at your institution? A really important question is what type of student life are you looking for in your campus community? Do you want the opportunity to participate in various clubs and student organizations? Are you looking for a college with athletics or social organizations? Do you need a college environment that caters to the needs of working adults? Do you prefer an online program or do you want to attend a physical campus. Many colleges can provide student testimonials reinforcing the culture of the institution. The quality of life factor is extremely important in determining if you feel a part of your campus community.

In conclusion, this list could be endless – the “best” business school for you might not be the best for another.  It is a personal choice that requires great thought. There will be many publications that seek to “rank” the best colleges and universities. We have all seen the articles outlining how to gain admission to the “top” schools. All college campuses have an Admissions department ready and willing to answer these questions and any others that are important to your choice. Ultimately, you should treat this decision as if you are writing your own research paper – complete with interviews.  Only then will you know if you have chosen the best business school for YOU to attend.

Shelley R.Ruth is the Senior Director of Admissions in Keiser University’s Online Division.  With over 16 years career experience in admissions management, Ms. Ruth is a sought after expert in national, regional, and programmatic accreditation matters.  She is a former member of the House Education Committee 95th General Assembly of the Tennessee State Legislature.