Choosing a college to apply to or go to is one of the most important decisions of your life. It is also one of the most stressful decisions because you know how big it is. Depending on your choices, it will change your life. It can be overwhelming, but if you consider these factors, it can help you to make the right choice.
How much does it cost to go to this college? Include everything from tuition, dorm, food, etc. You should also lay out the amount of scholarship because even if the average cost of attendance is high, they might give you a big scholarship. Do not just judge based on average.
This is important especially if you know what exactly you want to study. If they do not have a major that you want to take, you should take a step back and consider other factors to see if you should really go to that college. If you have no idea what you want to study, make sure the college has a wide variety of majors to choose from (you might even change majors so having a wide variety is good!).
Location is obvious to many students but make sure to research their weather too. Whether the place is sunny, cold, rainy, humid, etc… You should consider if you will have easy access to transportation or you need a car to get around and if there is something outside of campus to do.
Does the college have a meal plan? Is it required? Do they have any options if you have allergies or you are vegan? Each student has different preferences. Some want to cook their own food so they might not want to get a meal plan. You should also consider if there are places to eat outside.
Low faculty to student ratio means that each student can get more attention from the professor and the professor is more likely to be available than when the ratio is low. If your priority is going to a large school, this might be something that you will have to sacrifice.
If you want to study abroad, definitely make sure if there is a program and if a scholarship covers it. Is it semester long, year long, or short term? You should also check if you can get credit while abroad. If not, it can hold you back on graduating on time.
You should try to do some extracurricular activity if you can. Do they offer clubs that you are interested in? Do they have sorority or fraternity that you are interested in? Although this might not be a priority, make sure to consider this.
If you took college credits in high school like AP, IB, or dual credit classes, check if that transfers to the institution you are interested in. It’s preferable that they take it so you do not have to take the same classes over again.
These include the gym, counseling center, career center, tutoring program, etc… You should go to a college that supports you in different kinds of ways because that is where you are going to live for the next few years.
Check if there are any crimes on campus. You can check all the schools here. Just look up the school you want to check and data will pop up for you to check. You should also check the crime rate around the school.
If you want to go in depth, there are websites like checkli.com that will allow you to mark factors and save it for you to compare.