Choosing the Right College: 5 Essential Criteria

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Deciding what college to attend can seem nearly impossible when there are so many options out there. Of course factors like what major you want come into play, but what if you’re not sure what that is yet? Here are some things to consider to make the process of choosing the best school for you a little easier.

1. Distance

A lot of us think we want to be as far away from home as possible when going to school, but make sure you seriously consider this. Being close to home may mean being close to family, but it also means being close to friends. Decide how far you want to be from the people you’ll miss. Also, consider if you plan on staying on campus or commuting, as this definitely plays a huge role in the schools you can choose from.

2. Cost

Unfortunately, college is ridiculously expensive. Check out the tuition and room and board costs for schools that you’re considering! Make sure to talk to your parents to see if they can help you with school financially. That conversation will help you figure out the amount you’re able and willing to spend on college.

3. Size

Personally, I find the idea of lecture halls pretty intimidating, so when I was looking for a school I knew I didn’t want a huge campus. Consider whether you’d rather have small classes and individual attention from teachers, or if you feel you would do better in a larger class like a lecture hall! It’s all personal preference and up to your learning style.

4. Location

Where the school is located is very important. Is it in the city, country, or a suburban area? Whatever you prefer, be sure to check out the area outside of your school. It’s always nice to be in a place where there are things to do, and especially where it’s safe when you’re off campus.

5. Extracurricular Activities

Check out the sports and clubs that campuses offer. If you’re interested in Greek Life, make sure they have chapters and houses. Also research about other activities like the school newspaper or a lacrosse team. You never know what you’ll feel like doing!

When you narrow down your options, make sure the check out the school for yourself. One of the most important things is making sure you feel at home when you actually step foot on campus.

Happy college hunting!

Image: Stephan Dann, Flickr