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Choose your college wisely

President David Skorton offers students advice about choosing the college that’s best for them in a CNN blog. Among his tips:

“First, the faculty …” he writes. “Check out the proportion of faculty who have a Ph.D. or the highest professional degree in their field. Faculty experience in a non-academic setting can be a plus, especially in professional fields like engineering, business, law and architecture, and in the visual, performing and creative arts.”

How may faculty have full-time appointments? What is the student-faculty ratio? “Large courses don’t necessarily lead to disappointing experiences – one of the most popular courses at Cornell, an introductory psychology course, had an enrollment of more than 1,200 year after year, but it also employed a small army of effective teaching assistants,” Skorton writes.

Look at the quality and diversity of the student body, acceptance rate and student demographics: “You’ll learn more if your peer group is as bright – or brighter – than you. You’ll also learn more by living and learning with people from a variety of geographic, ethnic, racial, political, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.”

“Finally, given the time and money likely to be invested in higher education, consider how the experience will enhance your prospects for employment. It is worth looking into the career services available at the institution, the number and kinds of recruiters who come to campus each year, the availability of co-op and internship programs and the willingness of alumni to take part in mentoring and job-shadowing programs,” Skorton writes.

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