4 Important Factors in Choosing the Right College

If there’s one thing that is true about all colleges and universities, it is this: they are all different. The right college for you may be totally different than the right college for your best friend, or your parents, or your sister and brother.

The college you choose needs to fit you and meet your needs. Once you have a good idea of what you’d like to study, you should go beyond that to figure out if your potential colleges meet your other needs, too. Here are 4 things to consider when choosing the college that fits you the best.

  1. Do you like the location? This is listed first, because it’s the one thing that can’t be ignored or mitigated. Consider everything about the location including your dorm, distance from home, weather, the layout of the campus, safety and security, and the atmosphere of the town/city where it’s located. Going to college is a big adjustment all on its own, and you will need to consider how well you will adjust to a new residence at the same time.
  2. How much does it really cost? It’s so important to think about the cost of college beyond tuition. Always consider the net price of attending college, which is the average cost of attendance at a given college, minus the average financial aid granted there. Use this to compare potential colleges. If your potential colleges participate in federal financial aid programs, you should be able to find a net price calculator on their websites.
  3. What are the available majors and degree programs? Even if you have your mind already made up about a particular line of study, take into consideration all that is available at the college you want to attend. Remember that it is perfectly normal for people to change majors while in school, even more than once. Make sure you have options.
  4. What is campus life like? Give some thought to your life outside of the classroom. Are you interested in fraternity/sorority life? Do you like to play intramural sports? What’s the college nightlife like? Evaluate whether or not all of your needs – educational and social – will be met at your desired college.
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Ultimately, you want to go to a school that teaches you what you want to learn, in a location you love and that is safe, and where you’ll have a good time. It’s one of the best and most important decisions you’ll make, so choose wisely and have fun with it.