Whether you’ve been accepted to a few colleges or you’re just beginning your college search, we know that picking colleges can be a big decision. Instead of stressing, allow this process to empower you. You have the power to make college decisions that will propel you towards your goals and aspirations. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you get a sense of what you truly want:
1. What is my ideal location?
Contemplate what you hope to gain from college. Are you hoping to challenge yourself and explore something new for the next four years? Or are you looking for a place that feels comfortable? Would you be happier in a bustling city? Or a smaller, more rural setting? Would you prefer staying close to home or moving far away? All of these questions are important in figuring out a location that is best for you.
2. Is the climate appealing?
Keep in mind that you may be visiting schools during the spring and summer. The weather will likely differ during the academic year. (Is a harsh winter a deal breaker for you?)
3. Which size is the best fit for me?
You should evaluate this question in a couple of ways. Think about the physical size of the school. Is walkability important to you? Would you mind taking a bus to reach campus? Also think about the size in terms of population. Do big crowds of people overwhelm you? Would you like to see familiar faces when walking from class to class? Are you stoked at the thought of large lecture halls? Do you like the possibility of meeting someone new everyday? What is your preference on class size?
4. Can I afford it?
When making up your mind about a school, affordability is a crucial element. Evaluate your finances and factor in any financial aid you may have acquired. If you need help examining your financial aid packages, check out this article!
5. Are there housing options that fit my lifestyle?
When you think about housing, are you leaning towards living in the dorms or off-campus? Are your preferences available at this college? Do you prefer having your own space or are you excited by the prospect of a roommate? Though housing won’t make or break your college experience, a happy living situation can make a big difference when coming home from a long day of classes.
6. Do the meal plans meet my needs?
Are there a variety of affordable meal plans? Will there be other options nearby? Does your dorm have a kitchen? Is this school equipped to handle your dietary restrictions?
7. Does this college have majors I’m interested in?
You want to make sure the school you choose serves your academic and professional interests. Make sure your school has a variety of majors to explore if you aren’t sure of what you want. If you are interested in taking honors classes, you will also want to check which schools offer those programs.
8. What is my schedule going to look like?
Are there night classes or online classes available? Am I hoping to work a part-time job while going to school? How many classes do I need to take to qualify as a full-time student? Will all this work within my chosen major?
9. Are study abroad programs available?
Do they offer scholarships for study abroad? Are there options for my major? Many students enjoy their college career without studying abroad, but if this is something you are hoping to pursue, you should make sure your college decision has options!
10. What about career services?
How many students graduate with a job? Look into the ways that the career services center will assist you in determining your career goals or connecting you to internship opportunities.
11. What is the campus culture like?
Can I see myself happy in this environment? How do students spend their time when they’re not in class? Does the social atmosphere appeal to me? Remember that you will likely only be in classes for an average of 12-16 hours a week. This means you will have plenty of free time to branch out and establish your social life on campus!
12. What kinds of extracurriculars are offered?
Do they appeal to your interests? Are you hoping to join sports or Greek life? Check out activity fairs on campus, or go online to browse the different groups you can join! Most all schools have plenty of options to choose from, including service-oriented, academic, media/publication, political/multicultural, leadership, and religious/spiritual organizations.
Hopefully after mulling over these questions, you will have a better idea of the type of school you want to attend. For more information on steps to take after being accepted into college, read these tips!