How Do You Decide Where to Go?

How Do You Decide Where to Go?
By Linda O’Brien

Deciding where to go to college is really about finding a school that’s a good match for you!

To help you determine what you’re looking for in a college, consider all of the things listed below.

Do you want to go to a college close to home, or would you rather go away to school? Do you want to be where it’s warm or where there’s snow? Would you rather go to college that’s in a big city, or small town? These are all things to think about.

Because public colleges charge in-state students less than out-of-state students, its often less expensive for students to go to a college in their home state. For example, it costs a student living in Texas a lot more money to go to Ohio State than it costs a student living in Ohio. Most students, therefore, attend a college in their home state. Going to college in your home state also makes it easier to get home for the holidays and vacations.

In order to save money, many students go to a college that’s close enough for them to commute (drive back and forth to their classes). Since students who commute live at home, they don’t have to pay the extra money to live in a dorm.

College Size
While some small colleges have just a few hundred students, large universities can have over 25,000 students. Think about what size campus you would enjoy most. As you consider size, keep the following in mind: 1.) larger colleges have more majors, more courses, and more activities to choose from; 2.) smaller campuses are more personal, the classes usually have fewer students, and they’re easier to get around; 3.) smaller colleges are usually private, which means that most of them are more expensive.

While colleges cost vary, most students pay less than $9,000 a year to attend a four-year college, and less than $3,000 a year to attend a community college. Remember, there are things that you can do to make college affordable. Don’t even think that you can’t go to a college because you don’t have the money!

All four-year colleges have a variety of majors. While most colleges have popular college majors like business and education, not every college has every major. If there’s a specific subject you want to study, then you need to find a college that has that major. For example, if you want to study marine biology, you have to go to a college that has a major in marine biology.

Special Programs
If there is a specific program activity, or sport that’s important to you, you need to find the schools that offer that program or activity. For example, perhaps you want to go to a college that has an orchestra, or maybe you want to play volleyball in college. Having something that you definitely want at a college will narrow the list of colleges for you to consider.

Admissions Requirements
Each college has its own admission requirements. Some colleges accept all high school graduates; other colleges are very selective. Look for colleges that you think will accept you, and for schools that will be a good fit for you. Also look for colleges that have students with academic records similar to yours.

Other Criteria
There are other things that you may want to look for in a college. For example, you may want to go to a college with religious affiliation, or to an all girls or all boys school. There are also over 100 historically black colleges.