© CI/Photo by Haroldo Castro
When researching colleges and universities that might be right for you, there are several factors to consider: location, size, tuition costs, student-faculty ratio, extracurricular activities, and even how "green" a campus really is.
However, finding a school that offers a strong program in your field of study is a top priority.
In addition to finding information online or in books, try to visit the schools that are your top candidates to get answers to the following questions:
- Does this school have an established reputation for your chosen major? How does it rank in national surveys?
- What does your major's curriculum and coursework include?
- What internships, work-study programs, and job placement services are available in your field?
- What is the job placement rate for alumni in your major?
- How many students are accepted into the program, and what are the entrance requirements?
Though you may have chosen your ideal school, there is unfortunately no guarantee it will choose you. Be sure to have three or more schools in mind when applying and begin the application process well in advance of the deadline. It is indeed a "process" – you'll be required to complete lengthy applications; submit application fees; write essays; and provide transcripts, test scores, and references; and possibly be personally interviewed by school officials.
Comparing and contrasting diverse schools is an important part of making your decision. To help you jump-start your school search, we've listed some conservation and environmental majors below. For each major, we've selected ten schools* that specialize in that particular field. This list does not contain every major or every school, nor does it necessarily include the "best" in the field; it is only intended as a useful starting point as you begin your research.
Botany (Area: Biological and Life Sciences)
Environmental Engineering (Area: Engineering)
Environmental Law (Area: Law)
Environmental Policy (Area: Public Administration)
Fisheries Science (Area: Biological and Life Sciences)
Forestry (Area: Agricultural Sciences)
Landscape Architecture (Area: Planning and Design)
Parks and Recreation Management (Area: Parks, Recreation, and Leisure Studies)
Soil Science (Area: Agricultural Sciences)
Zoology (Area: Biological and Life Sciences)
* The list of colleges and universities was derived from a combination of sources, including U.S. News & World Report, The Gourman Report, National Doctoral Program Survey, and Guide to Graduate Environmental Programs. Conservation International declines any liability with respect to the accuracy, suitability, completeness or relevance of the information contained in the list.
If you're going to school to study environmental issues, you might consider how environmentally friendly your prospective campus is before you enroll. After all, a university or college has just as great a responsibility to practice what it environmentally preaches as individuals and businesses do.
The National Wildlife Federation produces the State of the Campus Environment, a regular report that surveys and ranks various environmental practices of college campuses across the country.
To read the complete report and find out more about how our nation's schools stacked up in the areas of conservation, recycling, landscaping, transportation, and environmental curriculum, go to http://www.nwf.org/campusEcology/HTML/stateofthecampusenvironment.cfm.