Deciding which college to attend is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life. However, with more than 7,000 colleges and universities in the United States from which to choose, picking the school that’s the right match for you can be challenging. Before you send in any applications, consider the following:
Academics. The reputation of the college and whether it is accredited should be your first criteria for choosing a college or university. You’ll also want to narrow down the choices to those schools that have a well-established program in the field you plan on studying.
Personality. Once you find a few schools that meet your academic requirements, you’ll want to visit them and talk to students at each institution to see if they fit your personality. After all, you’ll be spending at least four years at the school. You’ll get a lot more out of the experience and be a lot happier if the atmosphere is one that you are comfortable with.
Logistics. Logistics is also a prime consideration for most students. Will you be able to easily get to the school? Will you be able to afford to come home on school breaks? If not, is there somewhere you can stay during these periods? (Many college dorms close during breaks.) Do you have obligations to a job or family in your home town that will be difficult to meet if you go to a school that’s far away?
Cost and financial aid. Cost and the availability of financial aid is another major determining factor for most students. Few students can afford to study without a little help. Finding a school that meets your other criteria while offering a little tuition assistance can be a big plus.