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Monday, March 20, 2023

How to choose the college that’s right for you


Hello from North Central College!

It’s the time of year when many families are having spirited dinner-table conversations with their college-bound students. As a dad myself, I remember these fondly. And they can produce anxiety! Choosing a college is a big decision, whether your student is entering their first year or transferring, planning to live on campus or commute from home. Whatever your situation, I recommend listening to both your head and your heart.

I suggest that your student considers three questions …

Where do you feel a sense of fit or belonging?

One of the best ways to find out is to visit campus. Take a tour, talk to current students and speak to a professor. Schools like North Central offer an “admitted student day” to make this easy.

Importantly, consider the academic experience. Are there large classes taught by assistants in a teach-yourself approach? Or, are classes small and taught by professors whose primary focus is teaching and mentorship? Will your student be able to engage in research, complete an internship, or perhaps study abroad?

A great college education extends well beyond the classroom. What inspires your student – sports, music, travel? Are co-curricular groups available to provide a ready-made group of friends and the chance to boost leadership skills, explore interests, even see the world?

North Central is currently accepting applications for the fall semester, admitting students weekly and awarding generous scholarships. The college also offers a wide range of summer courses and athletic camps tailored to the interests of current and aspiring college students. For more information, visit www.northcentralcollege.edu.

What will your budget allow?

The data is clear: A college education leads to a lifetime of higher earnings. But college “sticker prices” can be shocking. Fortunately, at North Central, with the support of our generous alumni and donors, we make sure no one pays the sticker price.

This year, 100 percent of new students will receive a minimum of $20,000 per year as a tuition scholarship. In fact, we have been able to keep our average cost flat for the past decade! This is not what you hear in the news about college costs.

What do you want to do after graduation?

Which colleges will connect your student with internships and job opportunities? A strong alumni network? Robust career services? Where will faculty provide intense mentorship for entrance into leading graduate schools? North Central believes planning is so important that we’ve incorporated it into every student’s experience starting freshman year. We help our students find their passion and find their first step after graduation – even if they’re undecided about their major when they arrive.

If you’re weighing college options, listen to your head and your heart. Of course I love to hear when that leads a student to join the North Central family. But most of all, I hope they find the college that’s the right fit, is affordable and prepares them for a brilliant future.

Dr. Troy Hammond
Dr. Troy Hammondhttp://www.northcentralcollege.edu
Dr. Troy Hammond is the 10th president of North Central College. Founded in 1861, North Central is home to 2,800 students and offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, 60 minors and concentrations, and 13 graduate degree programs. Visit northcentralcollege.edu to learn more about the College’s state-of-the-art facilities and distinctive academic programs in science, business and more.