The Practical Guide to Choosing a College

Choosing a college is one of the most exciting decisions in life, but it’s also one of the hardest. With so many great options out there, just how do you narrow it down and finally settle on the one? We listed out a few important factors to consider while making your decision.

Location

This is often one of the first factors people look at when they first start their search. Some students purposely stay nearby — Whether it’s for the benefit of cheaper in-state tuition, or because it keeps them close to their job or family. For others? They can’t wait to start fresh in a brand new location across the country. Figure out where you’re comfortable, then start narrowing down your search from there.

 

Cost

Unfortunately, you can’t ignore cost. Not only should you pay attention to the overall tuition, but keep in mind factors like scholarship earnings and the cost of room and board. If the thought of taking out student loans leaves you cringing, consider staying in state (out-of-state tuition is often higher), look into community college options, check out campuses that are within commuting distance (no room and board fee), and definitely apply for scholarships.

 

 

Major

If you already know what you want to major in — Great! Clearly you’ll want to stick to colleges that actually offer that major. You can also look into how strong the school’s program is for that major, and what extracurriculars you can join in on that will benefit that field of study.

 

Size

Some students are all about getting that larger than life experience associated with big state college campuses, even if that means attending lectures with 200+ students. For others, it’s more practical to stick to a smaller, tight-knit campus with more personable class sizes. Whether you sway one way or the other, or fall somewhere in between, considering this factor will help you narrow down your search.

 

Student Life

A lot of people dream of a student life similar to the ones you see in the movies. You know…Copious amounts of school spirit, exciting tailgates and game days, and a bustling night life. Not your style? There are also plenty of schools with a more low-key student life, and schools that give you a happy medium of both. It’s definitely worth visiting the school in person, chatting with any current students, and looking into things like campus events and organizations.

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