How to Pick a College: Part 6 The Best College Decision

pensive female worker choosing folder with documents in modern office

College decisions should incorporate a good deal of investigative effort. There’s a lot of information to sort through and it’s difficult to distill useful, accurate content from opinion. You might want to know how to choose a major or find the best college fit. At Empowerly, our students use a detailed approach that leads to an informed decision. Research isn’t just about finding facts but uncovering academic motivation and how colleges will enhance it. Our framework helps students understand how each year of undergrad will contribute towards their goals.

Personal Goals 

Students typically have two main routes in mind after their undergraduate years- additional schooling or specific career paths. To maximize intellectual preparation and chances during these respective application processes, students should engage in academic research or develop personal projects. Like in undergraduate admissions, high school students need to explain their interest in a field and relate past life moments and accomplishments to support their story.

Nothing proves interest in the field more than demonstrated growth over time. College decisions were likely based on a combination of academic interest, university resources, and student life. Compared to high school academic interest likely changed and became more refined- something that’s proven through major selection, student club participation, research assistantships, personal projects, original research, etc.

Proving Interest

Regardless of the decision between starting a career afterwards or continuing onto graduate schooling after undergrad, students should leave with tangible milestones as part of their intellectual development. College decisions are the first step followed by transition to the workplace or academia which begins with another application process that asks the same set of general questions: 1.Why do you care about this field? 2.What experiences or achievements prepare you for this environment? 3.What kind of contributions should we expect?

Crafting a Narrative

If students can point to 2-3 actions that illustrate commitment and passion they will have a strong story. For example, someone interested in working for a robotics technology firm or a robotics program should have answers to the 3 questions.

1.I got my start with programming LEGO robots. Lights-out was especially exciting- I could see my creation move across my room with it’s glow-in-the-dark paint. Years later I applied these skills to my very first aerial drone project. It would fly from house to house recording backyard activities. I never missed a neighborhood barbecue or a chance to swim in my neighbor’s pool.

2.Halfway through college I organized robot battle between two miniature transformers (just like the movie). It started as a hobby from the skills gained in courses from the Artificial Intelligence lab on campus and grew during my internship at a robotics company. None of this would have been possible without the help of my advisor, a professor with expertise in robot development. My college decision paved the way.
3. I’ve studied computer vision extensively and relied heavily on this knowledge to complete the robotics project that served as my senior thesis. I’d like to expand on the human-computer interaction aspects of your program. Specifically, I’d like to help computers distinguish moving vehicles from stationary objects and people. This is a priority for autonomous cars.

Questions? Let us know!