Choosing the Right College


Choosing a college is a monumental decision. This generally isn't a choice you can make overnight, but you could also step foot onto a college campus and immediately know that it is your new home. Where you attend university, and what you do while you are there, essentially sets the rest of your life in motion. When it comes time to make that decision, there are a few criteria you should consider. 

Location
How far do you want to be from home? I chose a school that is close enough to drive home in one day but far away enough that I am not tempted to do so every weekend. Do you want to attend college in a small town or big city? I couldn't imagine going to school in a city, but I had to make sure there was at least a Target in town.


Size
There are universities in the United States with anywhere between 100 and 60,000 students. Take the undergrad population into consideration, and also the size of the physical campus. How long will it take you to walk across campus? 

Tuition & Scholarships
This is generally where the State vs. Private school question comes into debate. State schools tend to be less expensive, especially within your own state. However, you may also be able to earn scholarships to cancel out the difference. When comparing costs, look at automatic scholarships that state schools offer as well.

Campus
What resources are available on campus? If you work out regularly, check out their recreation center. Take a look inside the library and make sure there are plenty of places to study. If you know your major, research the building that your classes will be in.

Majors
Probably the most important thing in a college search is ensuring that your major is available. I would also recommend finding 3-5 other possible majors at each university. Most people change their major several times during college, and you should make sure you'll have other options that interest you.

Housing
Will you be living on campus your first year? What style are the dorms? How expensive is it? Do your research on the residence halls and be sure to visit a few if and when you tour the university. What are the dining halls like? Most schools put out better food on big visiting days, so keep in mind that the food probably won't always be as great as it seems. 

Organizations
While academics is your main focus in college, make sure you can have a well-rounded experience. If you are planning on joining Greek life, do some research on their Fraternity & Sorority Life (just don't pay attention to any stereotypes or gossip). Look for organizations similar to your high school involvement that you could join.

Athletics
This may not be a priority to everyone, but it's always interesting to see which sport teams excel at potential colleges. If you want to tailgate and go to football games, look into their athletic atmosphere. This can be a huge part of the college experience. 

When you're taking all of these things into consideration, weigh the pros and cons of each school. Decide how important each characteristic is to you. I am so happy to say that I have never considered transferring colleges, but it does happen and that's okay. If the school you chose is right for you as a freshman, that doesn't mean that it will necessarily still be right for you when you reach sophomore or junior year. This is especially true if you go into college with an undeclared major or change your major. So, at the end of the day, know that where you choose to go to school is not a decision set in stone! 

Check out all my other college-related blog posts here! Let me know what you want to see by leaving a comment.

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