What do you look for in a college?

I was at a light behind a car with a big sticker announcing that they were an Alum of New York University.  Pretty regular, unremarkable thing to see.  But I am wondering, what does and what should someone be looking for when you look at a college?

My initial thought is check in with the alumni office first with the career/guidance office a close second or even in a tie for first.   Even if you do not know what you want to study the reality is these two places could be the best tools any college has to offer.  I appreciate the fact that the name on some pieces of paper carriers more prestige than others but the reality is it is a piece of paper.  You can read all the books you want but if you do not do anything with the information it isn’t really knowledge.

If you do have a major it probably makes a ton of sense to then check in on the professors in whatever department you are looking at.  Do they actually have experience beyond the campus or are they just teaching courses?  Have they had a career and now are teaching or did they just keep going to school without actually applying any of the “knowledge” they gained.

**Disclosure, I did drop out of an MBA program when I realized what was being taught was not how the information/concept was actually used.**

I am sure that there are some highly specialized curriculum programs for pretty specific majors throughout the college landscape.  I am also sure there are lots of people with highly specialized degrees who are either unemployed or working in a different field that would not have required a degree.  No sense in being that person.

Does my college have a solid alumni network? See there events calendar, LinkedIn, Facebook groups.

Does the career office regularly bring in outsiders to talk?

Do they regularly do job fairs where not only do you get to meet prospective employers but you also see a wide spectrum of companies?

Have you met other Alumni who can give a testimonial about the school and programs beyond things like “it’s a great place to go to school,” and ” You’ll have a lot of fun….”

Either way, just a thought.