October 6, 2014

Factors in Choosing a College or University

I previously covered some important considerations in college selection and promised you I'd write more. Here they are!

How much is the tuition, room, and board? Public colleges and universities often offer significantly cheaper tuition for in-state students.

Can you get merit aid or financial aid? If so, how much?

To what extent can you negotiate with the financial aid office?

Also, don't forget to factor in the fact that if your school is far from home, plane / train fares add up quickly.

What kind of degrees does the college offer?

How strong is the college in your areas of interest? For example, if you want to major in medicine, how reputable is the pre-med program?

Are there any combined undergraduate and graduate degree programs?

How competitive is the student body?

What's the ratio of students to faculty?

What's the average class size?

How accessible are faculty to students (email, office hours, etc.)?

What kind of assistance does the career services office offer?

What's their success rate with placing students in jobs and internships?

What kind of employers typically come to campus to give workshops?

What kind of employers have special relationships with the college for internship programs?

Extracurriculars and Social Life
What kind of student organizations are there?

How prominent is the Greek life (fraternities/sororities)?

How strong are the school's sports teams? How strong is school spirit?

What percentage of students live on/off campus (dorms vs. apartments vs. living at home)?

Student Body
How diverse is the student body (race/ethnicity/religion/national origin/gender etc...)?

What's the average age of an entering freshman?

What percentage of students transfer in (and out) of the college?


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  1. All of these questions popped into my head when I was applying to college. This was the biggest decision of my life and I wanted to make the perfect decision. Every high school student thinking about going to college is faced with the same questions above. You have to research, visit and ask a lot of questions to insure that the perfect college fits all of your needs for a successful college career and future.

  2. Important decisions!
    Of course you have to TRY TRY TRY with your applications, teacher recommendations, extracurriculars, GPA, and volunteer work! But, if you need a reality check, take this: the right college for you IS out there, you just have to find it! And it's not a hit-or-miss thing, I'm sure that most colleges have at least a few things you can celebrate. Small dorms? Get over it. A huge library? AWESOME! See? It's not that hard. Be happy, reach high, and shoot for the moon (as long as you still have a few safety schools, just in case) :) Good luck!