Choosing the perfect school can be a daunting task for even the most prepared future college students. For some, cost may be the deciding factor, but there are several other aspects of a school that can be used to determine if it’s the perfect match for you. Below I have compiled a list of the few most important characteristics to consider when looking for your dream school – cost not included.
What do you want to study? Does the school you’re interested in offer that major? These may seem like obvious questions to ask when deciding what school you’re going to call home for the next four (or more) years, but more often than people may think, students end up at a school that doesn’t even offer their intended major of study!
Taking a note of how prominent your major is can also be important when trying to find that one special school. Is there a high interest in this major at this school? Are classes offered year-round for this major?
Don’t settle on a school until you know how popular your major is there. This will not only impact your in-class experience, but also how easy (or competitive) it will be to register for classes in your major.
An important question to ask yourself when deciding if a school is a good fit is: is it near or far from home? Some students may enjoy being around their parents every day during their college career, but other students will enjoy the challenges and excitement of moving away for college.
Considering how dependent you are on your parents, and their intended schedule for visiting and spending holidays together may also be important. How often do you want to visit? If you want to, can you realistically visit home during each vacation?
Small and large schools both have their own advantages. For example, a large school may have an impressive reputation, but a small, private school may have small class sizes that provide a student to professor ratio that can’t be beat.
Going from high school to college will have its challenges, but, ultimately, how the size of a school affects you will vary. If you’re more of an introvert, will it be hard for you to adjust to a big school environment? Or do you enjoy the diversity you may find on a larger campus?
Sure, getting good grades and boosting your GPA is important, but college is not just about academics and studying. College allows you to build upon and enjoy skills that you already have, and allows you the opportunity to develop new skills. These non-academic skills often come in the form of athletics or student clubs and organizations. Does your first-choice school have clubs, outside of the classroom, that you are interested in joining? Can you create your own club or organization if you so choose?
Ultimately, choosing a school is a decision only you can make. All of these factors are important, and each of them can help you piece together which school is the best fit for them.