Five Features of a Great College
In the London area, there is no shortage of colleges that a student can choose from. From West London College to King’s College to Imperial and beyond, deciding which college is best to obtain your business or fashion degree can be difficult. Listed below are the features that you should be looking for in a college, starting with a high graduation rate.
- A High Graduation Rate
Graduation rates may differ from area to area or program to program, but generally a graduation rate of 30% to 60% is within the average range.
This number affects you as a student for a couple of reasons:
- a) A high graduation rate indicates the likelihood of yourself graduating; and
- b) A student can estimate when they will graduate from the program and within which time frame (i.e. do most people graduate after 4 years, 5 years, 6 years or more?). This is important in terms of budgeting for your schooling.
- Low Student to Faculty Ratio
Having a low student to faculty ratio is ideal as this means that a student is likely to receive more personal attention than if there was a high student to faculty ratio. Some of the most prestigious colleges around the world try to carry a 7-1, student to faculty ratio. However, most students continue to thrive in an environment where there is a 14 to 1 ratio. Try to avoid schools with a ratio over 15 to 1, however, as these professors are often strapped for time and overworked.
- Low Average Class Size
This number is not usually advertised on the website, but when visiting the school it is a great question to ask. Ask questions such as:
- Does the college have large lecture classes for freshmen?
- How many students are typically in the lab at one time?
- How big are the upper-level seminars?
Students can also get a “feel” for how large a class may be by browsing through their course catalogue. There you will find the maximum enrolment number for your class of interest.
- Fair Financial Aid
When researching schools, find out what percentage of students received a grant, and what the average amount of that grant has been. This will help give you an idea of how to budget for your schooling.
When seeking financial aid, your goal should be to strike a balance between what is beneficial for the college and what is beneficial for you. Any sort of grant will require a bit of a sacrifice on a student’s part, but the institution should be willing to meet you halfway and provide you with a low-interest rate and a manageable repayment schedule.
- Opportunities for Research and Internships
One of the best ways to gain experience in your field is to gain some hands-on experience prior to going out and seeking a job once you graduate. The best colleges support students in seeking internships with the top companies and organizations in the London area and provide them with plenty of opportunities to assist professors with high-level research.