Choosing a college is one of the hardest decisions you’ll make in your life, and with so many options available, it’s hard to select just one. Below are the top 10 questions you should ask yourself before choosing a college.
1. Have you chosen a major yet?
Some colleges offer a range of degrees, but usually one department, like the psychology department, may well known for its excellence. Some colleges are specialized to just one degree, such as music colleges or those for journalism. Before looking at anything else, review the list of majors available.
2. How far from home do you want to be?
Some of us are gutsy enough and will adventure abroad to international colleges. Others find an out-of-state university to be far enough from home to explore new horizons while still keeping in close contact. Others still like to be in driving distance of family or even live at home, and would consider choosing a college in their local area.
3. What size college are you looking for?
If you’re from a tiny town with a graduating class of less than 100, then lecture halls of 300-500 students may feel overwhelming. Alternately, that could be an exciting chance to meet new friends from interesting backgrounds.
4. What is the yearly cost of attendance?
Concerning your budget…are your parents, relatives, or other connections helping you out? Are you applying for scholarships, FAFSA, taking out loans, or a combination approach? What will you do if you receive scholarship funds one year but not the next…are you willing to take out that amount in loans?
5. What are the requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores?
Check with each college to see what the requirements are for minimum GPA and SAT/ACT scores.
6. How important is student life?
Again, check out the college’s website, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site to see what they offer in terms of student activities. See if they offer clubs or teams that you’re interested in.
7. Are part-time jobs available?
Many businesses open their doors to students when the school year starts, but competition can be high. If you intend to take this route be sure there are plenty of open jobs. However, you can also apply for on-campus jobs or consider a work study.
8. What type of living arrangement do you want?
Some colleges require students to live in the dorms for their first quarter or year, while others don’t. For all following years, students are given free reign to choose their living situation. It’s important to consider what type of roommates you’d like to live with, such as friends, a random assignment or just other students you find through sites like Craigslist.
9. What type of college is best for you?
Depending on the type of degree you’re pursuing, there are two-year colleges, small private colleges, large public universities, four-year institutions and more.
10. Do you want to live on campus, close to campus or close to local businesses?
If you want to live in town, make sure there’s a convenient transportation system or that amenities like groceries stores are within a reasonable walking distance.
The big question to answer when looking at a list of colleges is “which college is for me?” Use these questions and your answers as a screening guide before choosing a college. You can also check our higher education video courses and see what you like and what you don’t like about college education.