Your decisions today will determine your future tomorrow. And choosing where to study for college is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make in life.
The quality of education you’ll have, the career path you’re going to pursue, down to the kind of people you’re going to meet are all influenced by the choice of school you’ll decide to attend. Malay mo dun mo na makilala ang love of your life!
Before we dive into the factors to consider in choosing the right college, let’s put out the good news that there’s no perfect college to miss out on. No one size fits all! Your parents’ alma mater may or may not be the best school for you. The same way that following your BFF’s choice isn’t always the best way to go. Pagdating sa pagpili ng school, it all depends on you!
Simply put, this guide is an attempt to help you narrow down your best options and not meant to encourage you to choose a certain school. Ano ba ang bagay sayo? Saan mo ba nakikita ang sarili mo in the next four or five years? The best part is ikaw lang ang makakasagot niyan! And hopefully, with these factors in mind, you’ll have a clearer picture of which school is the right one for you.
Cost of education: Hanggang saan aabot ang budget mo?
Education is costly. By ‘education,’ we mean everything it entails. Mula application fee, tuition and miscellaneous fees hanggang sa daily expenses na kailangan pagdating ng pasukan. It’s a costly investment but an investment nonetheless.
When choosing a college, considering the cost takes high priority among households. Bukod sa pag-evaluate kung pasok sa budget ang tuition every semester, list down all the other expenses you would expect to have once you start studying. Ganun din ang opportunities for financial aids and programs that can help you pay for college.
Some schools may be more expensive in terms of tuition but can have more available scholarships or more flexible payment options compared to a cheaper school. Remember to look at the overall cost, hindi lang basta tuition.
Here are some basic education expenses to consider:
- Tuition and miscellaneous fees
- Living expenses
- Boarding expenses (if you’re considering to live in a dorm)
- Transportation expenses
- Books and supplies
- School uniform
Check out our list of partner schools! When you study at any of our partner schools, pwede kang mag-apply for a Bukas tuition installment plan. That way we can cover up to 100% of your tuition while you pay us back in affordable monthly installments. Oh diba, consider all options!
School location: Hanggang saan ka aabot?
Unlike schools for basic education na meron sa halos lahat ng mga bayan at lungsod, colleges and universities are more limited and geographically scattered across the map. If you’re even considering studying abroad, that’s an even bigger decision to make.
Deciding on the location of your school, therefore, is not just about independence but also a matter of priorities. Saan ka ba naghahanap? Are you only considering schools within your hometown or are you willing to pack your bags and explore new places for college? Every location has its own advantages and disadvantages. It’s up to you to decide kung ano ang mas importante sa pag-aaral mo!
When deciding on a location, consider the following:
- Staying at home vs living in a dorm
- City life or provincial life
- Other considerations: cost of living, safety, homesickness, etc.
Course Offerings: Nandun ba yung course na gusto mo?
Here’s an unpopular opinion: college program comes first, school choice second.
Alam naming may mga estudyante na bata pa lang, may dream school na. And that’s great! By all means, study hard to get into your dream school. All we’re saying is your learning is more important than a school’s reputation. A good school on a diploma will certainly open doors for you. Gusto natin yan! But a strong skill set that will open doors you actually want to walk in? That’s even better.
Contrary to popular notion, no school can excel in all course programs. May kanya-kanyang forte ang bawat college. You only need to find the school that excels in yours! If you’re lucky, your dream school may even offer the program na gusto mo. When listing down your school options, be honest and ask yourself “which of these colleges can equip me with the right skills I need in the career I want to pursue?”
Four criteria of a good course offering:
- Popularity: Is this school known for your college program?
- Credibility: Is this school recognized by professional accrediting associations?
- Quality of teaching: Is this school taught by notable and distinguished faculty?
- Career network: Is this school a breeding ground for successful professionals in your field?
School rankings and accreditations: Gaano ka competitive?
Okay, let’s say nalista mo na ang schools kung saan offered ang gusto mong college program. What’s next? It’s time for numbers and statistics! Before you go blank and run away with the sight of numbers, we’re talking about a school’s overall reputation. Mind you, hindi lang ito based sa feelings or kung anong sinasabi online.
A good way to compare schools, at least quantitatively, is to look at published rankings and accreditations given by credible organizations locally and abroad. These evaluations are quite comprehensive! Dito mo makikita ang sagot kung gaano ka competitive ang isang school pagdating sa research, school facilities, faculty and staff, and more.
While not all numbers are equally significant and it really depends on what you value in a school, these figures are telling of a school’s commitment to academic standards and excellence.
Here are some leading organizations and what to look for in a school:
- Commission on Higher Education (CHED): Centers of Excellence and Centers of Development
- Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA): Levels 1-4 accreditation status
- Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU): Levels 1-4 accreditation status
- Professional Regulation Commission (PRC): Top performing schools in licensure exams
- Times Higher Education: World University Rankings
- Quacquarelli Symonds: QS World University Rankings
Student community: Nakikita mo ba ang sarili mo dun?
Last but definitely not least: vibe check! What does your gut tell you? Our feelings and emotions may not always be reliable sources but it’s always a good factor to consider whether a school is a right fit for you or not. After all, it’s your future we’re talking about.
Can you see yourself studying there? Does the mention of the school excite you? Magiging proud ka ba to call it your alma mater? (Or in today’s lingo, making it Facebook official kapag enrolled ka na!)
While our current situation may limit you to online means para mas makilala ang possible schools mo in college, here are some ways you can get a vibe of your future school kahit nasa bahay ka lang! Tiwala lang, makakapunta ka rin sa campus mo someday.
Check out the official school website
- You can learn the most basic information about the school here. What are their mission and vision? How about course offerings? Kung interested ka, pwede ka rin magbasa ng onting school history! Some schools even offer a virtual tour on their website for potential students like you.
Stalk the school’s social media accounts
- If the website tells you what the school is all about, these platforms should tell you how they relate to their students. Hands-on ba sila sa pagbibigay ng information and updates? Formal pa rin ba sila online or are they more relaxed and relatable?
Talk to current students and alumni
- Nothing beats first hand stories of people who actually study or studied in the school! Eto na ang pagkakataon mo. Ask them about their experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. They are the closest you can get to the school! Reading their unfiltered thoughts about the school on social media counts, too.
Choosing the right college for you is not an easy decision. We hope this quick guide helped you in narrowing down your options. College promises an exciting adventure and learning experience for students. Take your time and don't rush the process! Keep these factors in mind at sigurado kaming mahahanap mo rin ang tamang school para sa’yo. We’re rooting for you!
Learn more about Bukas and how we make education affordable for thousands of Filipino students like you. Apply for a tuition installment plan in your upcoming intake, and join our growing community for more tips and advice about all things student life. A better tomorrow awaits. Sa'yo ang Bukas!