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Don Patarino

Don Patarino has written 2 posts for College and Career Blog

Five Questions to Ask Before Choosing a College

Westwood College - Choosing the Right College

As a college student you are expected to work hard and remain committed throughout your education—and most students expect, understandably, their hard work and commitment will help land them a job upon graduation. However, a college should work just as hard – or harder – to ensure its students are fully equipped to pursue their professional goals.

Here are five suggested questions to ask of potential colleges before you enroll:

  1. Do you have programs to help students identify a career path? You might not know what career you want to pursue at the time you enter college, so be sure to ask prospective colleges what type of guidance is available to students who are still deciding on a career.
  2. What kinds of scholarships are available? Ask what types of scholarships are available for your entire educational experience, not just the first year or two.
  3. Does your school offer on- or off- campus employment opportunities? Inquire about on-campus jobs that can help students pay their bills, career opportunities at the school once you graduate if you are interested in higher education, and internship opportunities, paying specific attention to how the college helps students pursue internships that will aid in building a successful career.
  4. What do you do to help students find a job before and after they graduate? Ask the college if they have a career center that focuses on helping students identify potential jobs and if these services will continue to be available after a student graduates. Find out how many graduates secure a job in their field of study and ask if the college has any programs that will help students who have graduated, but haven’t yet found a job. For example, Westwood College’s Employment Pledge helps students who graduate in good academic standing but haven’t yet secured a job by offering financial assistance for up to six months (additional terms and conditions apply, see website for details).
  5. Does the school offer ongoing support to graduates? Ask your college what types of services are available to graduates beyond landing that first job—such as career advice, tuition assistance for continuing education programs, ongoing access to career counselors, graduate retraining for fields that continually change, etc.

Every prospective college student is different, so take the time to think about what type of college experience is most important to you and do not rush the selection process. Diligence and research on the front end will help ensure your school works hard for you in the areas that matter most for meeting your future goals.

Don Patarino
Vice President – Training and Operations
Westwood College

Preparing for the Admissions, Process – Five Simple Tips for Success

Admissions Tips - Westwood College


“I am so excited to go to this college dad,”…… many parents hear these or similar words uttered by their kids this time of year.  Interested students may say this about several colleges, but what happens when it really is the college for him or her?  Take the time to be truly prepared so when the moment does come where the fit is right, you are as prepared to evaluate the college, as they will surely be prepared to evaluate you.

In addition to a tour, a substantial catalog and handful of brochures, the evaluation process will most likely include an interview.  Be prepared for the admissions process by following the steps below:

  1. During the interview, admissions staff will ask several questions to learn more about you and your background.  Be prepared with several examples of your past successes by writing them down in advance.  The more specific you can be on your accomplishments, the better you will be able to identify your unique qualities as well as distinguish yourself from others.
  2. All of the staff you meet have been trained to ask questions to get to know you and best discover who you are.  Be yourself, and be honest about what is important to you while in college.  Let the staff know what is it that you want to accomplish while in school and after graduation.
  3. The interview is not just an evaluation of you – it is an opportunity for you to assess the college.  Be certain you have a list of questions prepared to ask the staff.  How will the degree help prepare you for your future career?  Are there tools and staff available to support you while in school and after graduation, when you are looking for the right career match?
  4. Each college has a list of entrance requirements that are most likely available online or within the academic catalog.  Take time to research these requirements before the interview and be prepared with required information.  Many times, you will need to present scores from standardized evaluations, or you can take the college’s assessment to meet their proficiency requirements.  Be ready and set enough time to take an assessment at the time of the interview.
  5. Last, although it may seem obvious, get plenty of sleep the night before the interview, have a healthy breakfast so you are relaxed, and have plenty of energy to interact with staff.

Bring a notebook, take notes, ask questions, but most of all have fun and enjoy the experience.  The time you spend evaluating the college will be well worth it, as the college will take plenty of time to evaluate you.

Don Patarino
Vice President – Training and Operations
Westwood College

The Westwood 100

Meet 100 of our graduates and take a look at their stories of hope, determination and dedication. Meet the 100.

The Westwood 100