May 1 is coming and it is time to decide which college you are finally going to. After four years, you have been waiting for this moment and now the decision is probably extremely difficult. Here are 10 considerations you need to make before submitting that enrollment deposit:
1. Campus Life
It is very important to consider campus life when deciding which college you want to go to. How many clubs does the school have? Can you create your own club? How is Greek life on campus? Is there an active student government? You should answer all these questions when deciding which school you want to go to and then see which choices give you your desirable options.
2. Residential Life
Some colleges have limited options for residential life or the halls are generally not desirable. You should check out the dorm halls for each college and see if not only you can afford it, but if you like it and would be comfortable with it. Also, check out the perks that comes with each dorm hall. For example, some schools have battles with each dorm hall that are campus-wide, so try to see if this activity is something you are interested in.
3. School Spirit
Even though you probably did not see much school spirit in high school, people truly represent their colors in college sports. For example, the University of Florida Gators is a university that has the entire city representing their blue and orange colors and chanting out their pride of being a Florida Gator. See which schools put emphasis on their school spirit and if you are interested in being a representation of your college.
4. Academic Expertise
Check out the academic programs in each university, especially for your major. For example, if you are a film major going to Harvard, you probably wont have as many opportunities as you would in Boston University. Similarly, if you are a chemistry major in Emerson College, you will not have as many class choices as you would in John Hopkins University. It is very important to see the technology and the resources your school has for your major, and it is also essential to know the professors at the university and see their level of expertise, because these are going to be the people that guide you.
5. Study Abroad/Internship Opportunities
Many college students take a semester to study abroad or they get paired into an internship to work for the year or the semester. These opportunities are valuable to building your resume and your work experience, so going to a college that has these career services for your major is essential to know. Check out the career centers in every university and the internship or study abroad programs it offers so you can see which will work best for you if you wanna pursue these programs.
6. School Size
The size of the school matters a lot depending on the environment you prefer. If you have preference for small-scale environments and prefer less people in your classes, research your school class sizes and overall population. However, if you prefer larger schools in big city campuses, you can explore those options when looking through your colleges and try to see if you can adapt to that environment. Basically, don’t go to New York City if you know that the big city will overwhelm you.
Surprisingly, location actually means a great amount. Everybody is accustomed to a different form of weather, so try to keep this in mind when making a decision. If you know for a fact that you cannot live in the cold, then maybe New York is not the best option for you. In contrast, if you really love beaches and come from a Hispanic background, then Miami is a good location for that. These are the kinds of geographical factors you have to consider.
Keep in mind that no matter what school you go to, transportation will always matter. For example, many students who live in New York do not have cars and only use taxis or the metro stations to get around the city. However, students who live in Miami MUST have a car since the city is primarily a commuting city, in which there is not as much access to public transportation. Think about how many Ubers and Lyfts you can really afford versus taking public transportation versus actually having a car. Please note that some college towns are not the best idea to have a car in, such as Boston in which you will never find parking.
9. In-State or Out-of-State?
Even though it may be a basic question, knowing whether or not you want to stay in-state truly matters. Beside being closer or away from home, in-state tuition tends to be a lot cheaper; therefore, if you are going out of state, think about if it is worth spending that much money for a college outside your hometown. However, going out of state can give you a ton of opportunities to meet new people and adjust to a new setting in your life. At the end of the day, contemplate what is best for you and whether or not you will feel more comfortable being closer to home or in an entire new place by yourself.
Of course, finances are one of the biggest factors making a college decision. Talk to your parents and see how much they can contribute so you can calculate how much you will need to pay out of your own pocket for each college. Think about whether or not you want to even have a job in the first place during your college experience; a lot of students tend to not have jobs in their first semester because they want to adjust to the college setting.
Also, scholarships are a major factor in the decision-making process. If you get a full-tuition scholarship from an in-state school that is nationally ranking versus no scholarships from your dream school, think about what would be better in the long-run for you financially. Make sure to contact your top schools to ensure your financial aid to be completely set, because you do not want to commit to a school and have your financial aid be complete bogus.
In college, you are going to have numerous other expenses to keep in mind. You have to pay either for groceries or a meal plan, for your dorms, books, lab fees, entertainment expenses, and for transportation. Think about what school will provide the most financial stability with all these factors in mind.