There is no single university that is best for every student in any area of study. Each university program is unique, based on the curriculum designed by the faculty at that university. The location, setting, and culture of each campus are among the other elements that can determine whether you will thrive at a given school or not. The links below provide you with a number of criteria you might consider when choosing a university and the resources to finding schools that match your priorities.
What to Consider
What to Consider: Choosing a University (PDF) reviews elements that students most commonly consider when deciding which university campuses might be the best places for them to earn a bachelor’s degree. In each category choose the description that matches your preferences.
Choosing an Academic Program
Students choose a transfer university based on many considerations. Ideally, choosing a university based on academic programs and its "fit" for you is a primary consideration. From which university degree programs can you benefit most?
The key to this element is the faculty who teach and do scholarly work in the department of your major. In finding out more about them and their academic projects, you can better define your own academic interests and generate ideas about how to gain experience related to your studies. In the end, both of these outcomes can be helpful in your transition to the university, employment, or graduate school.
Here are some questions to answer about a university campus:
How extensive is the faculty and the course offerings in your major?
Does the faculty offer a major emphasis or concentration that interests you?
In what kinds of research projects are faculty involved?
What articles or books have faculty members published?
Do undergraduates serve as research or other project assistants?
Does the university provide assistance with finding internships, offer a program in cooperative work experience, or offer career placement services?
The answers to these questions are available in university catalogs and, especially, on their Web sites. A list of faculty members and a description of the major and course offerings is a standard part of either a written or online catalog. It is more likely that you will have to go to a Web site to find information about the activities of faculty members through links to "academic programs", "research", or "faculty". Opportunities for students to gain experience are often coordinated through a career center or student employment office that is part of "student services".
If you are not sure how to begin gathering information about university academic programs and faculty, either in catalogs or on the Internet, the Transfer Center can help. We have an extensive library of catalogs, a computer lab, and staff to assist you. Come to the Center in the Lesher Building or call 384-6239 for more information.
College Search Programs
There are a number of computerized search programs available to help you generate a list of university campuses to consider. They all contain a “matching assistant” that first asks you what your preferences are among some criteria just as the “What to Consider in Choosing a University” does above. The program then provides a list of schools that match your preferences.
There are three such programs that you can access only through a licensing agreement like the one that Merced College has with the vendors: CollegeSource, Eureka, and Discover. For Eureka and Discover, the Transfer Center can provide you with a password for you to use from any computer. You may wish to come in Third Floor in Lesher Building for initial instructions and then continue at home.
The following are other Web sites that can be used to conduct your search on your own: