Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions one has to make. However, after graduating from school, many applicants forget about simple factors that cannot be ignored. Some aim for prestigious schools, others listen to their parents or follow their friends. But the thing is that it’s your life, and you should get to decide how to spend it. And to spend it right, you should make your own decisions, especially when it comes to education. As a future college student, you should research and weigh all the options to determine which college suits you best.
Every student has different interests and wants, but all of them should consider the following factors.
The geographical location of the college is one of the most important factors that some tend to ignore. If you want to stay closer to your parents, why not go for a school that is closer to your home? It will also help you cut down travel costs since everyday local transport is less expensive than airfare. If you live at home during your studies, you will save money that could have been spent on renting a place.
Choosing the nearest college is a perfect option for those who don’t want to go far and leave their home.
If you already have an academic plan in place, you should check whether the college you are considering offers the major you wish to pursue. For instance, if you want to study archaeology but the school you have chosen doesn’t provide any majors associated with it, it’s time to find the one that does. Don’t settle for something else to study unless that college is the only place you want to go.
However, if you have not decided which academic path you will take, you should go to a college that offers a wide variety of majors because then it will be easier to switch from one to another in case you don’t like the chosen one.
Before you finalize your decision, you should research the academic quality offered by the college and its reputation over the years. Ask your friends or acquaintances who studied where you want to go and read the information on the school’s website and reviews. One of the most important factors is employability. Times Higher Education’s ranking reveals the universities that recruiters at top companies consider the best. In general, there are 250 universities from 44 countries, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, and more.
The size of a school holds a lot of significance. Colleges and universities can be of different sizes. Some small colleges enroll only 1000 students, whereas the big ones enroll over 40,000 students yearly.
Small colleges usually do not offer many majors and programs but provide specialized degrees and better hands-on learning experiences. But small colleges might also have a very small campus with small classrooms and lesser facilities.
Large universities offer a wide variety of majors and programs. Not just that, they offer a greater number of extracurricular activities, events, professional resources, and facilities. They have better and bigger libraries, the latest research facilities, and sports teams.
A college near your house saves you a lot on tuition fees. According to statistics, students studying at a public college in their home state pay an average of $9200 in tuition, whereas students studying in public colleges in a different state pay $28000.
Apart from tuition fees, you also need to consider the cost of accommodation, transportation, books and supplies, food, and other miscellaneous costs. Don’t let these numbers scare you because nearly every college offers scholarships, work-study opportunities, loans, and financial help.
Safety is something that many students, unfortunately, ignore. It’s a very important factor, especially if you live on campus. When you study, the last thing you want to think about is your valuables being stolen, someone getting hurt, or even something worse. To prevent yourself from this, aim for schools whose campuses are safe to live in. According to the Clery Act, all universities and colleges that participate in federal financial aid programs must provide information about crimes taking place on campus. Nuwber has listed the safest college campuses in the U.S. If your college is on the list, there is a small possibility of something dangerous happening there.
College can be difficult for many, so you need an environment that caters to your emotional, mental, and physical health needs. Before finalizing your college, make sure it caters to your traits and any medical conditions you have.
Most students experience homesickness, so it’s a good idea to check which wellness and health programs and services the school offers. As a college student, you will spend plenty of time on campus. This is why you should be comfortable with the campus that will be your home for the next four years. Pay close attention to the following:
What type of accommodation does the school provide? Are the rooms single, double, or for multiple people? Are they suite-style or apartment-style? How much is the cost? Who can get accommodation? You should know the answers to these common questions.
Are there dining rooms or cafeterias on campus? What is the cost per meal? Do they provide food that is gluten-free or vegan?
Do students have access to medical care and other facilities on campus? Is there an on-campus hospital, pharmacy, clinic, grocery store, and bank?
Is there a gym, pool, basketball court, or running track? What equipment is available? Are there any other recreational activities on campus?
For many students, the purpose of attending college is to get a job that allows them to earn money. Ensure your college offers comprehensive career services and helps you launch your career. Career services include internship opportunities, job search preparation, applying for further studies, and future job placement assistance.
There is no definite answer to this question. Every student’s needs, wants, visions, and aspirations are different. Make a list of your priorities and write down factors that you think are more important for you to consider.
Explore all the options and send in multiple applications to keep your doors open. Loads of great schools can help you build a bright future. Before you make the final decision, you should do in-depth research, visit the campus personally, and talk to the administrative staff and students there to get a better understanding of what it’s like to study at that place.