How to Choose a College - A Student Guide

How to Choose a College: A Student Guide Choosing a college is by far one of the most important decisions a student can make in their entire lives — next to choosing the right major. You want to make sure the institution you go for not only helps you achieve your educational goals, but it should also provide you with valuable experiences and opportunities.

High school graduates should think very carefully about where they decide to enroll. If you’re having trouble making a decision, this brief but comprehensive guide on how to choose a college should help you make the best out of the options you currently have.

Read on to learn more!

5 Things to Consider When Choosing a College

1. Location

Attending a college that’s close to home is a great way to save money while in college. It removes traveling as well as board and lodging fees from your budget. You can also enjoy in-state tuition which can help you cut down on costs even more. However, there may be some students who would prefer to study away from home. Location is still an important factor to consider in that case. You need to decide whether you want to stay in a rural area or a sprawling metropolitan area. Both will have their pros and cons. Rural areas are more affordable but are often isolated and don’t offer as many amenities and opportunities. On the other hand, metropolitan areas have a more robust selection of activities and opportunities, but they aren’t the cheapest states to live in.You’ll need to decide which you’d be more comfortable with.

2. Institution Size

Another important factor to consider when choosing a college is the size.

*How big or small do you want the institution you attend to be? *
While the notion of “the bigger, the better” might seem like the best decision, it isn’t always the right choice.

Consider this:
While small schools may be limited in terms of the programs and activities they provide, their smaller size allows them to offer specialized programs that most large schools can’t. Not just that — with smaller schools, you also get more chances of enjoying a myriad of hands-on learning experiences. Additionally — because of small class sizes — you also get more opportunities to communicate with professors and advisors in your major. Meanwhile, larger schools can offer a much bigger range of programs because they have a much more substantial source of funding. They may also have more state-of-the-art facilities and laboratories that students can use to hone talents and skills. This can be an advantage for students who enjoy activity and adventure, and who want to gain access to as many professional resources as possible.

3. Campus Environment

We’re sure you’ve heard of the adage “different strokes for different folks,” and it’s often used when people discuss preferences and choices. The same thought can be applied to choosing a campus environment. Depending on your interests and hobbies, you want to choose a campus that can provide you with a balance of both academic and extracurricular opportunities. It’s not enough to just get educated in the classroom — you should also have access to activities and programs that get you exposed to the outside world. For instance, if you want to make money as a student-athlete you may want to choose a college that compensates its players for games. Find a place where you can make friends, join clubs, and see what other curiosities the world has to offer.

4. Overall Cost

According to a study conducted in 2020 to 2021 of students attending college, it was found that around 30% of them were taking on debt to pay for their education. While the pursuit of higher education is certainly not something that anyone should stifle, you don’t want to acquire too much debt before you’ve even entered the workforce. Choosing a college near your hometown typically means lower tuition fees. It also means you won’t have to take on as much student debt — if you take out any at all. The best college for you is one that won’t drive you bankrupt while still helping you achieve your goals. They should also have a variety of grants, scholarships, and work-study options for students.

5. Student Support and Resources

Plenty of universities now have diverse student resources that can aid students whenever needed. If you’re someone with unique religious or medical requirements, you must choose an institution that can accommodate your needs, without making you feel like you’re out of place or are a burden to others.

It’s normal for students to experience mild to severe cases of homesickness, especially if it’s their first time being away from home. If you’re someone who has never left home before, then finding a college with a great mental health program can help you adjust better and more effectively to college life.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a college can be an intimidating and overwhelming process. By considering these five tips, you can make the process much easier to digest and control. However, remember not to rush yourself when making a decision. This will only make you feel more anxious and lost. Making a decision based on anxiety and fear is never a good way to achieve anything. Keep a level head and try to enjoy the process of looking for the best college!