Picking a college to enroll in is a VERY big decision for students entering their first year. It’s not a short term decision; usually, students have to stick with their choice for 2-4 years. It affects not only your academics, but also social and financial aspects as well. Consider these 5 factors when deciding between colleges.
Is the environment surrounding the college somewhere you see yourself? Do you like the weather? How far away is it from home? Is there transportation easily accessible?
These questions are all important when considering a college. The location of a college plays an important role in how you’ll experience your next few years. If you can’t see yourself living in the city’s settings, the college might not be right for you. If you can’t handle being away from your family, maybe a college across the country isn’t the best for you.
2. Academic Majors Available
Does the college offer majors you are interested in? Does the college offer your major specifically? What programs are available on-campus for your intended field of study?
If the college doesn’t offer anything you’re interested in, the college probably isn’t for you. All colleges offer different majors in different fields, so even if you’re not sure about your major, it’s important to pick a college with fields you’re interested in. If the college specializes in your intended field, it might offer more benefits and resources than other colleges.
3. Housing Options
What sort of environment do you want to live in? What are some housing factors that make you uncomfortable? Are you okay sharing spaces with other people?
Think about same sex versus co-ed dorms, communal bathrooms versus private bathrooms, and single rooms versus multiple roommates. This will be your living space for at least a year. You’ll sleep, shower, and study in this area, so it’s important to feel comfortable.
4. On-Campus Opportunities and Resources
What sort of student organizations does the college offer? Is there a way to get involved with sports or service? Are there any resources specifically for college students like you?
Campus organizations and resources all play a role in shaping your enjoyment in college for the next few years. It’s important for you to find a community of people with mutual interests to make friends and connections. Checking if your campus provides additional resources for certain student groups is also important. If you are a first generation student who feels like they will need additional help, check if there are first generation resources/support groups on campus.
5. Affordable Cost of Attendance
What sort of financial package is the college providing me? What will my cost of attendance be with financial aid? Does this college offer any scholarships?
The cost of attendance is one of, if not the most important factor to consider when deciding on a college. Student debt and student loans are a serious issue; you want to avoid breaking your wallet for college. Evaluate the different financial aid packages each school offers you. If a school is not offering you enough, consider calling their financial aid office to see if there is any additional aid they can provide you.
Nina is a Consultant on the Study Hall College Consulting Team. Nina is currently a sophomore at UC Berkeley majoring in Chemical Biology. For more college application and essay tips, check out our Study Hall College Consulting website at: shcollegeconsulting.com.