Choosing a college is a big decision. Between cost, majors, living arrangements, proximity to home, campus size, and how comfortable you feel there, there are a lot of moving parts – and that’s not even half of it! If you’re struggling to make a decision on what school to attend, we’ve outlined a few questions to ask yourself below.
Questions to Ask Before Picking a College
Do they have my major?
This one is a big one – if you know what you want to study, you need to make sure the college(s) you’re interested in offer that program of study! If you’re set on a certain major, don’t waste your time exploring schools that don’t have your major.
If you aren’t set on a certain major, however, or are still undecided – your options are open! Look at schools that offer a wide variety of majors, or allow for a diverse range of general education requirements so you can explore different classes.
How much will it cost?
This one may be obvious, but it’s crucial to point out. When you’re applying to colleges, it’s important to not only consider how much tuition costs, but also other expenses like room and board (if you’ll be living on campus), books, transportation, and other fees.
Of course, financial aid can be a big help with the overall price you’ll pay. Make sure you weigh your financial aid packages carefully before you make your decision.
Where is it?
Is this college right around the corner, or across the country? Depending on how close you want to stay to home, location is an important factor. Plus, the farther away you get, the more it will cost to travel home for breaks or holidays. Take this into account before you choose a college!
Is it public or private?
The cost difference between public and private schools can be shocking. Going to college out of state comes with a whole new set of things to consider. Tuition can be much higher for out of state students at public schools, and private schools often come with hefty tuition. Not to mention how the campus culture can vary drastically between the two. Again, take their financial aid packages, programs of study, and student environment into account. What’s most important to you? Let this help guide your choice.
How big is it?
Not only in physical size of the campus, but also of the student body. If you’re looking for small class sizes or an easily walkable campus, attending a huge state university may not be right for you. But if you want to be around a lot of new people every day, that may be just what you’re looking for!
What are living arrangements like?
If you’re going to be living on campus, consider what your living situation would be like. Does the college offer dorms or on (or off) campus apartments? How many roommates would you have? Are the dorms or bathrooms co-ed? It’s important to think about what you would be comfortable with. Do some research to see what options are available to you to help make your decision.
Are there opportunities for student involvement?
If getting involved is important to you, see what options are available at each school. Do they have a variety of sports, clubs, organizations, or Greek life? Is this college known for their sororities or fraternities, or is the college football team what it’s all about? If you want to be involved, look into what you might be interested in joining. If not, choosing a college that’s big on school sports or Greek life might not be right for you.
Do they offer internship programs?
Some schools offer (or even require) students to complete at least one internship while they’re in college. In many cases, these schools will help you find an internship, usually closely related to your area of study. If getting experience and preparing for a job after college is important to you, picking a school that helps you get internships is a good choice.
Can you study abroad?
Always dreamed of spending a semester abroad? See if the school(s) you’re interested in offer study abroad programs. Many schools also partner with other colleges abroad to let students study there for a term. If this is something you’re interested in, look into what countries are included in any programs and how credits may transfer between schools.
What is the food like?
Are you going to be living on campus? Check into the meal plans to see if they are required, what pricing is like, and what options for food is available. Do their options work with any dietary restrictions? Even if you’re not living on campus, you’ll probably grab a bite to eat at the dining hall or a cafe on campus occasionally, so make sure you’ll be happy with what’s available!
With a little thought and research on these questions, choosing a college doesn’t have to be so hard! Figure out what’s most important to you, and narrow down your options from there.