Selecting a School


Deciding which colleges to apply to, much less which to attend is a significant life choice that will affect you for years.  What are your values?  What kind of environment do you want to live in?  These and other questions will help guide you to select the proper school.

Location
How far away from home would you like to go to school? 10 miles or 2,000 miles

Size of College
Would you prefer to attend a school with a large enrollment, (30,000 or more students) a small one, (around 1,500 students) or something in the middle?  How large would you like the physical size of the campus to be?

Environment
Would you rather attend a community college or other: 2-year institution, 4-year university, urban, suburban, or a rural school?  Is the location and size of the nearest city important to you?  Do you prefer a co-ed or single-gender school?  Does the school’s religious affiliation make a difference to you?

Admissions/Requirements
At what schools do you have a high enough GPA, class ranking, and test scores to be admitted?

Academics
Which schools offer the major(s) that you are considering?  What kind of student-faculty ratio and typical class size are you looking for, and which schools offer them?

College Expenses/Financial Aid
Does your college choice match your financial ability?  How expensive a school can you afford to attend?  Consider tuition, room and board, and other expenses including the application fee, deposits, etc.  How many students receive financial aid at the schools you are considering?

Housing/Facilities
Would you rather live on campus, in a dorm, or commute to school from home?  What type of academic, medical and recreational facilities should your college have?

Activities
What kind of clubs and organizations (including fraternities and sororities) do you want college to offer?  What types of athletic activities (including intramural teams) should be offered by the school you choose to attend?

Special Programs
Do you need a school with services or programs for the learning disabled?  Would you like to study abroad?  Do you plan to continue your ESL studies in college?  Are you looking for an honors program?

Graduation Rate
The percentage of students that graduate in 4 years, 5 years, or 6 years. These numbers can be very revealing. For example, a college that costs $50,000 per year but has a 85% graduation rate in 4 years may be a better option than a college that has a 8% graduation rate at $30,000 per year.