What to Consider in Your College Search

In College Admissions on Apr 21, 2016

You’ve been spending some time looking at different colleges and trying to figure out which schools are a good fit. If you’ve already found a few options, that’s great! But we get that’s it’s sometimes a little confusing. Here are a few things to consider when you’re adding colleges to your list.

Plenty of students are determined to avoid student loans by applying to lower-cost schools. If you’re concerned about the price tag of college, make sure you check out the tuition and fees. You may find they’re relatively affordable, or that they’re way out of your price range.

Keep in mind the tuition listed on a university’s website isn’t necessarily the price you’ll pay. Scholarships and grants may cover some of the expense and make a certain school much more affordable.

By now, you might be leaning toward going to school closer to home or jetting off to explore a new part of the country. If you’re sure you wouldn’t be comfortable more than a few hours from home, there’s no point in considering colleges on the opposite coast – it just won’t be a good fit. Similarly, if you know you want to live at home and commute to school, an institution four hours away won't be logical.

Do you thrive in small group settings and classes that allow everyone to participate and chime in? A huge public university may not be the best match. If you love meeting new people and being surrounded by others, a larger school may be a better fit than a liberal arts college with just a few hundred students.

Don’t waste your time deliberating over a school that doesn’t offer a program you’d be interested in. Someone who’s always wanted to be a biology major at a huge research university probably isn’t going to be happy at a small liberal arts college.

But your program of study isn’t the only thing that’ll determine fit. What about study abroad programs if you’re interested in travel? A religious affiliation if you’re serious about your faith? A women's college if you're ambitious and looking for a strong community? If you’re considering a career that requires a master’s degree, are there any schools that offer a five-year combined bachelor’s/master’s program? These types of programs play a big part in whether or not a school is a great fit.

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