Did you know that there are over 4,300 colleges and universities to choose from in the United States? Having tons of college options is great, but finding the best college for your needs can be a challenge.
Fortunately, there are many ways to narrow down the field when choosing a college to simplify the process. If you’re applying to college soon, the following guide will explore 7 factors to keep in mind.
Read on and make going to college less daunting by picking the perfect school with ease.
1. Determine Your Interests
It’s important to stick to your passions when picking a college rather than always going the rational route. You’ll spend the next 3 to 6 years studying specific subjects and it’s important that you have a passion for them.
Think about what career you want to enter using your education, stick to that idea, and work out the other details as you go. If you can honestly picture yourself working in a particular field after graduating, you’re off to a good start when picking a college.
2. Find the Best Schools for Your Interest
Now that you’ve locked down your interests, find the best colleges in 2023 for those subjects. Create a shortlist of universities that match your goals and begin researching each one of them.
If possible, reach out to alumni at different universities to get an idea of what your future might look like. Use social media to connect with different universities and see what past and present students have to say.
Pay attention to how universities interact and communicate with students via social media as well. You can also check Linkedin to see what career paths alumni from different universities chose after graduating.
3. Content of Courses
To avoid disappointment, make sure to learn about the content of courses before you apply to a university. You might find a university that you love and that covers your subject of choice, but the curriculum might not meet your needs.
If you need more details about the course content, you should always contact the university before making a decision. If you don’t enjoy the courses or they aren’t relevant to your goals, you’ll have difficulty studying and maintaining good grades.
4. College Housing
A lot of colleges offer student housing directly on their campuses and others require students to live off campus. Factoring in housing helps you plan financially and socially for your college journey.
If you live on campus, you might share things like bathrooms and kitchens which makes for a great way to interact with fellow students. On the other hand, you might want your space to study depending on your personality and preferences.
5. Financial Planning
Make sure you estimate expenses for different colleges and decide if you have the ability to pay them. You might find the perfect college, but you need to look elsewhere if it isn’t realistic financially.
Other than college tuition fees, think about things like transportation, housing, and other living expenses. Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to eliminate a college from your list right away if you don’t think you can afford it.
First, look into part-time work opportunities in the area that might help you pay for expenses. You might also consider different college loan options before deciding to look for a less expensive school.
6. In-Person Visits
Some college institutions allow potential new students to visit the campus before they apply. You might also find opportunities to meet college representatives at college fairs in a city around where you live.
If you prefer online communication, consider attending virtual college fairs or online information seminars. This way you can engage with college representatives and students without ever leaving your house.
7. Campus Size
It’s important to select a college that has a campus size to fit your needs. Small, medium, and large-sized campuses all have their advantages and drawbacks depending on your personal preferences.
For example, a small campus might offer more one on one attention and engagement with professors and other faculty. However, others might find that small campuses with only a few thousand students come with limitations such as subject offerings.
Most public and Ivy League schools fall into the midsized campus category. A medium-sized college might have the personal feel of a smaller school but with the diverse options of a larger school.
If you find a mid-sized campus you like, look into its student-to-faculty ratio, course options, and location. You’ll likely find a lot of extra sports and activities that small colleges don’t offer.
A large campus with tens of thousands of students might seem too overwhelming for some students. However, others might welcome the opportunity to meet and interact with more people.
Typically, larger colleges offer more classes for specialized interests, special majors, and research possibilities. Some large campuses even offer smaller classes for seminars and group discussions so students don’t feel lost in the crowd.
Undergraduates must think about the size of the college’s professional and graduate programs. In some cases, the number of graduate students can increase campus size even though the number of undergraduates isn’t very big.
Choosing a College
When choosing a college, remember this guide and start by focusing on your passions and career goals. Find a school with relevant courses, an affordable price, and a proper campus size for your needs.
Check out our site’s education category for more helpful tips to help you find the perfect college.