Deciding on a college is not something you leave until the last minute. There are a lot of factors to consider to ensure that you will have the best next four years of your life. But with so many schools claiming that they are exactly what you need, how do you narrow down your choices? To help you make this important decision, here is a list of six factors to consider when choosing the right college for you.
Location, location, location
The location of your school should reflect how you like to spend your free time. If you’re someone who enjoys getting out and leading a busy life, be sure that the school you go to is not in the middle of nowhere. Consider proximity to cities and stores to best match your style of life. Don’t forget about weather! Not a fan of the cold? Don’t pick a school in upstate New York. Can’t stand the heat? Chances are, you’re going to want to avoid Texas. No one wants to spend their college life miserable just because of the temperature.
Courses, of course
This may seem a bit obvious, but make sure the colleges you are looking at actually offer the degree you want to study. Do a little research. Schools will handle majors differently, and may not offer the exact courses you’re hoping to take. Be sure to find a school that is up to task to prepare you for your future.
A new school means new people. These are the people who you will be studying and living with every day, so don’t take this lightly. Consider the student bodies of every school you look at. Are they diverse? How big is the school population? The size of the school affects how close you feel to the other students. Smaller schools usually mean tighter-knit communities. Bigger schools provide ample opportunity to meet new people all the time. Whichever you prefer, just remember — your future friends are at stake.
We all know that you are not going to be spending all of your time studying, but that doesn’t mean your free time should be a waste of time! You could join a club or attend school-sponsored events. Check out a list of the clubs at the colleges you’re looking at. Sneak a peek at the school’s event calendar. Make sure the school you pick has enough to keep you entertained for the next four years.
While this is definitely not for everyone, some students take interest in study-abroad programs. If you are one of these people, make sure you check out where in the world your school can send you. Some schools offer more places than others through different programs. It’s important to make sure where you want to go will actually be available to you.
Every school comes with its own set of connections. Have a dream job? Maybe the school you’re looking at now has connections to that particular company. Also consider the hiring rates of graduates. A job fresh out of college will help keep you on your feet and out of your parents’ house.