Choosing the Right College For Your Leadership Degree
You have decided that a career in leadership is what you want to pursue, however, how do you decide where to study and why? The program or degree that you choose to study is important and is something that is of similar importance to where you study. The support and the guidance you get from a college will help to shape and mold you into a leader. So, to ensure that you make the right choice for yourself and your career, what should you be thinking about? What questions should you be answering at this stage to ensure that you get the most out of your studies?
Deciding What You Want to Achieve
It might sound like a simple enough question, but really what do you want to achieve from your time at college? You know you are headed for leadership but have you thought about what type of leadership, and have you thought about the long term career prospects and opportunities as well. When you can decide what you want to achieve (both personally and professionally) you can then start to take positive steps in the right direction. When you know what you want to achieve you can also then ensure that any college you liaise with or contact holds ambitions and values that are in line with you and what you want.
Similar Values and Ethos
Going to a college that holds a similar ethos to yours will benefit you because it will feel like the college is working with you to help you realize your potential. When you share similar values and ethos with a college you can get more from your time studying, and you can be sure that they always have your best interests at heart. If you do not align with the core values and ethos of a college then you may find yourself fighting an uphill battle all of the time, and this may not give you the best start to the world of leadership. Choosing a college that is diverse and that supports you is an essential part of your learning journey, and of your transition into leadership.
When you are looking at colleges, it can be easy to get carried away and start looking at locations that are far away from your home or place of work. Now in the beginning this may sound great, but as time wears on, the novelty may well wear thin. If you are traveling to a physical campus, then you need to think about distance, location and convenience. For example, if you have to travel one hour on either side of your studies how will this impact your balance between studying and life, and how will it affect your time management. Finding a college that is closer to your home, or perhaps even online, will save you a lot of stress and inconvenience in both the short term and the longer term too.
Programs That Are Relevant
Some colleges offer a lot of programs but that does not mean that they will offer a program that is relevant or even beneficial to you. Knowing what you want to achieve will help you at this stage because it will guide you to which college offers what you are looking for. For example, if you know that you want an educational leadership degree, then you need to focus on the colleges that offer this program. Simply settling for a lesser program, or perhaps a program with less relevance is not going to do your career any justice. A program that is highly relevant to your future, and to your career will also be more enjoyable to study and more rewarding too.
Faculty and Expertise
Some colleges are known and respected for their expertise and faculty, so are the colleges that you looking at offering this? You know that you want to study leadership, and this is where you need to start your search. Finding out if the college you are looking at is strong in the business faculty will help make your selection a lot easier. Looking at what lecturers are employed and looking at the overall strength of a department will help you to see if the college is invested in the area that you want to study, or if they are just offering it as another option.
Flexible Approach to Learning
Attending a physical campus every day, or every few days may be something that you enjoy doing or it might not. No two people learn the same or in the same way and understanding how you learn and how you want to learn will help you choose the right college. For example, if you learn better on your own and from the comfort of your own home, then why not look at online learning. Learning does not have to take place on campus, and this is something you need to understand. When you take a more flexible approach to learning, you often get more out of your program and degree. Of course, not all colleges offer this flexible learning approach, and this is something that you should be aware of. Being able to study when you want to and how you want to is something that the right college will offer.
Track Record and Success
Some colleges historically perform better than others and this is what you need to be looking for. A college’s success rate and track record will help you to narrow down your search criteria. So, take some time out to look at what a college’s previous results were, and then look a little further back too. If the success rates are lower than you expected, then you may need to investigate why they are lower than you thought (especially if they offer the program that you want). Contacting a college and speaking to someone can often help squash any concerns or questions you may have. Of course, a track record and success rate should not just be looked at as a standalone figure, it should be considered in line with other areas such as programs on offer, flexibility to study, student support and guidance.
Opportunities and Guidance
What you study and when is important, but so too is the support you get. A lot of colleges do not offer students the support, or opportunities they need and want, and realistically this can affect your time studying, and your career opportunities after leaving college. Choosing a supportive college that provides plenty of opportunities, together with student support and guidance is something that you should be focusing your attention on. Colleges that help students prepare for their future should be seen and held in high regard. Far too often colleges simply process students and then wash their hands with them when they have earned their degrees.
So, what accreditations does the college you are interested in hold? Does it hold nationally, and possibly internationally known accreditation and does it highlight the accreditations that it has in possession? Colleges that are well accredited may cost more to attend, but quite often you know what you are getting, and you know what to expect. If a college does not hold the accreditations you thought it would, then you have to ask yourself if this is what your career needs. Competition for leadership jobs is tough and to ensure that you stand out from the competition, you have to shine brighter. One way you can shine brighter is to hold a degree from a well-accredited college.
A college’s reputation may not mean much to you, but it may impact or affect the career or role that you get in the future. Some colleges have tarnished or poor reputations and, unfortunately, this can affect the strength of your degree. Going to a college that is well known and respected will ensure that you do not have any extra hurdles in your way to landing your dream job. When it comes to looking at reputation, you may want to look at online reviews and recommendations – especially if you are unfamiliar with the colleges you are looking at, or if perhaps they are in a different state. Online recommendations and reviews will give you clear information, and clear answers which will certainly make your whole search just that little bit easier.
Studying can leave you feeling isolated and alone if you are not careful, and this is certainly not what you want. As a student, knowing that you have support is crucial to the success of your studies, and your future too. If support is not there, or if it is not provided then you may end up feeling confused and lost, and as a result, this may well mean that you do not get as much out of your time at college as you had hoped that you would. Having somebody available to chat and help you (whether by email, or via online chat) may not sound like a lot, but it can help you get through those inevitable rocky patches.
Cost and Payment Options
Some colleges offer similar prices, whereas some are more costly to attend. Cost alone should not form the basis of your choice or selection, but it should have an impact. You do not want to leave college in more debt than you can afford to pay off, and this is something that you need to consider. There are a lot of colleges that offer both realistic and affordable costs, and these should be the ones you focus your search on. If you financially stretch yourself too thinly, then you may resent going to college, and this is not what you want to feel or even experience. As well as looking at overall costs, you should also look at payment options. Some colleges only accept payment of fees or tuition in advance, whereas others allow you to pay tuitions costs and fees over some time (some even offer finance packages too). Making sure that your time at college is affordable and manageable is what the right college will do for you.
Intake and Entry Requirements
A lot of colleges hold similar or set entry requirements and ensuring that you meet the criteria is crucial. Some colleges also offer more flexible entry requirements, and this may be something that you need to take into consideration. For example, if your grades were not what you were hoping for or expecting, or if you have had a break from studying – look at a college that will accept this, and understand it too. When a college has more flexible entry requirements you can be sure that they are putting the students and learners first. When you want to study can also determine which college you choose. For example, if you want to start your studies in the fall, then this may move your search to online colleges, whereas if you want to start at another time of the year, it may focus your effects on physical campus bases. Knowing when you want to begin your studies and knowing what time of the year colleges take on new students is essential because it allows you to plan.
Selection and Final Choices
You need time to choose the right college, and you need time to weigh up the options available to you. If you do not give yourself a suitable amount of time to research colleges that are out there, then you may end up settling for one that is not quite right. You are not alone when you are selecting a college, and you need to get the input and opinions of family, friends and those around you. The more help and input you can get then the easier your final selection will be. Weighing up your choices will be much easier to do when you have all of the information you need to hand, so do not be afraid to invest your time into getting this decision right.