There are many things to consider when choosing a college. Will it meet your academic needs? What is the area like? What are the people like? Will there be small classes or large lecture rooms? To help you in your quest to find the perfect college, I have compiled a list of things to look for:
First and most importantly, does the school cover your academic requirements? When you apply to the school, they should send you a workbook with all of the classes listed. Want to be a Forensic Science major? It will be rather difficult if they don’t offer any courses in that discipline. Make sure you do your research on the schools you want to attend to find out if all the courses you need will be provided.
You may want to start with about 10 colleges and narrow it down to about 3 or 4 based on whether the courses they offer fit what you want in a school. You may want a school that specializes in a few certain areas, or you may want a school with a diverse list of courses. Once you have your list of 3-4 schools, take a look at the tuition.
Secondly, the price of the college. While some parents may be filthy rich, the majority of new college students have to worry about tuition and financial aid. If money is not an option, you may skip this step in you consideration. For the rest of you, most state universities are relatively cheap, if you live in the state. But, once you go out of state for any college, the rates soar! So, watch out.
Private Universities tend to be a bit more steeply priced. Though, they offer very high financial rewards to students who excelled in high school.
However, if you have decent grades and are in desperate need of financial assistance, you will most likely get tons of financial aid from the government. But, don’t pick a college before you know how much you will get!
Thirdly, there’s the location. You’ll want the college to be somewhere you’ll thrive. If you want peaceful quiet surroundings, then the city is not for you. On the other hand, if you want an exciting place where there’s always something going on, you’ll definitely not want to go to a rural college. You may think that location isn’t that important, but it will be once you have to live there every day. Besides being in the classroom, there is much to learn just from your surroundings. So, you’ll want your environment to be something you won’t tire of easily.
You’ll also want to pick a college where there will be some people like you who you will get along with well. Now, for larger colleges, this isn’t hard as there is a large diverse crowd of people. For smaller colleges, the community is tight knit and it will be pretty easy to make friends.
Finally, you’ll want your learning environment to be fit for learning. You may like smaller classes as opposed to 300 people lectures. Or the other way around. Big lecture classes offer the chance to blend into the crowd. Because there are so many people, there is less of a chance that you will be called on. However, smaller classes might prove to be more informative because there is more one on one time with the teacher, and you can actually take the time to get to know them, which can help you out greatly in the future when you go to apply for a job. You’ll want to visit the campus, and maybe actually ask to sit in on a few classes or ask some students to get a feel of what the classes are like before you decide which you prefer.
Once you have narrowed down your choices to 3 or 4, go ahead and apply! Even if there is a school that you are not sure about, go for it! It may turn out to be the place you’ll fall in love with. While you are waiting to hear back, it is a good idea to look into scholarships applications and financial aid to be sure that when you are accepted, you can afford to go there.
After you hear back, if you were accepted into all of them, you will have the chance to ultimately make the decision of which college you will attend. Keep in mind all the criteria from before. If that fails, you can always flip a coin! But, when the time comes to make that final decision, it will probably be very clear which way to go.