Planning for Success

Stop 3: How Do I Get There?

This is always one of the longest stops on the road. Have you ever been on a road trip and hit that point where it feels like you’ve been driving forever? That’s how it can feel once you've determined your destination and then have to start planning how to get there.

Fortunately, our Road Map to Student Success also includes these seven steps to guide you in choosing the right school and training, which are listed below.

7 steps to choosing the right school 

1. Location, location, location.
It’s not just important in the world of real estate; it can matter in education. Or … maybe it doesn’t? That’s what you have to find out: Can your program of interest be completed 100 percent online, mostly online, or is a campus experience required? That’s why you need to understand all your options for training!

2. Program schedule.
Whether you learn on campus or online, you may be required to check in at certain times. Online students may have discussion groups or meetings via chat, email or phone with professors and peers to complete the coursework. Make sure you understand what the in-person requirements are before you enroll.

3. Accreditation.
This can be another determining factor when you choose your program. After all, what good is your education if it won’t help you qualify for the license or the kind of job you want? When you speak with each school, be sure to ask if the school and/or its programs are accredited by any relevant organizations. Learn more about accreditation.

Do you want to know more about accreditation, and why it's important? Click here to learn about the benefits of accredited programs, as well as major agencies that provide oversight for career colleges and industry-specific training programs.

4. Check out prerequisites.
Before you even consider a program, find out what prerequisites students need to be accepted into the program. This may include gathering letters of recommendation, transcripts and other materials ahead of time. Making a checklist at the beginning of your process will help you move through the enrollment process more efficiently.

5. Explore financial aid options.
Look into every opportunity you can for financial help in paying for school. Most students typically wind up with a mix of federal, private and other forms of aid. In fact, our Imagine America Scholarships help all kinds of students — from military to high school to adults seeking a career change. It never hurts to apply, so learn more about these opportunities here.

6. Follow your passion.
We know it may sound cheesy, but it’s important to choose an education path that aligns with your personality and interests. If you love working with computers, IT or computer engineering may be your best bet. If you want to help others, you may be a good fit for a job in health care. Or, if you love working with your hands, you may want to pursue mechanics, renewable energy and other related fields.

7. Talk to as many people as possible.
During each phase of choosing the right school and program, you will want to tap into as many resources as you can. Having as many perspectives as possible will help you gain insight so you can make the best decisions throughout the process.

Once you follow through with these steps, you’ll head on down the road to check out your best mix of financial aid options. And you won’t want to stop there!

Be sure to keep going to see what kinds of scholarships we offer all kinds of students …


Now that you've chosen where you want to attend school, let's put together a plan to pay for your education. Find out how.

Apply for scholarships using our mobile app!

The IAF app delivers tools and resources perfect for students of all ages — as well as high school counselors, career college administrators, and college and university administrators. Matching your school with scholarship opportunities, applying to your school and even checking your application status have never been easier.