So you got into a few (or all!) of the colleges to which you applied. Congratulations! Now comes the tough part: which one to choose? It can be a daunting decision. Every prospective college student has a different vision and different desires for his or her college experience. Knowing what you want and need in a college campus can be vital in making your college decision easier. Read on to find some factors you need to consider before choosing your school.
1. Compare the programs in which you are interested
Look at your prospective major, or a few of the majors that you are interested in, by checking your various schools’ online catalogues. Does your intended major offer a variety of classes that you will be interested in? Are there certain tracks within your major that you know you will be passionate about? You can also look at the rankings of a specific program or major within your potential schools to see how they stack up.
2. Speak with current students (or read student blogs!)
Many colleges can connect you with current students so you can get an authentic perspective of what the school is like. Consider talking with current students to get your burning questions answered, whether they are about academics or campus life. If you’re unable to meet with current students, student blogs are a great place to get a close view on campus life as well.
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3. Research the location of the colleges
Although a majority of your time will be spent on campus, it’s important to get a grasp of the city in which your school will be located. Aside from checking that your schools’ locations have all the basic things you want and need, you’ll also want a location where you can eventually find internships or volunteer opportunities in your field of study. Ask yourself if you can see yourself living in said cities for four (or even more) years.
4. Research the size and geographic diversity of the school
Think about what experience you want to get in college. Do you want to know everyone on campus, or do you want to go to a big school where you may meet someone new every day? Also think about the other students who will be there. Do you want to be in classes with students from the same state, or even the same high school as you? Or would you rather be in classes with students from across the country, or even across the world? These comparisons can help narrow down your college choices.
5. Consider the costs
The obvious expense to consider here is the cost of tuition. Did you get a scholarship to one school and not the other? Is one school much more expensive than the other, requiring you to take out more student loans? Consider how much you are willing to pay for your college experience. Aside from tuition, look at the prices of living options around and on campus. Most likely, you will only live in the dorm for a year or two, and then migrate to a house or an apartment. While price alone shouldn’t make or break your college decision, it’s a reality that many students will need to factor in.
Making the college decision is a huge deal, as it is where you will be for the next several years. Don’t let the decision stress you out, however. No matter what school you choose, your college experience is uniquely yours and you can be successful at any school if you put your mind to it.