The idea of going to college is exciting – the freedom, the independence and answering to no one but yourself. (OK, if Mom and Dad are paying the bills, you probably do answer to them, but they're not likely to call every single day, right?)
But to make the college experience worthwhile, the school you choose needs to be able to give you what you want – besides a degree. So, what do you want? Think about what you need; that's what will make the college experience truly valuable for you.
Things to Consider
You should think about specific answers to the questions below.
- Where do you prefer to live geographically?
- How far from home do you want to be?
- Do you want a campus in a big city or smaller town?
- Do you need to go to a particular type of school to get the degree you want?
- Do you prefer a two-year or four-year college?
- Have you considered community college or a vocational/technical school?
- Is the major you want offered?
- Is the school strong in your chosen academic area?
- If you aren't sure what to study, are there a variety of majors available?
- What types of social events are popular? (Check out online social media entries for that school to get a true glimpse.)
- Are you interested in any clubs or organizations offered?
Cost and Financial Aid Availability
- How much will your entire education at the school cost?
- How much financial aid is offered?
- Will you be able to pay off your school debt with the job you're planning?
- Are the library, career counseling and other academic resources adequate?
- What about the fitness center and health center?
- Are other services (health, shopping, transportation) located nearby?
- Do most students live on or off campus?
- What are the residence halls like?
- Is the dorm food edible?
- Are there different housing options?
- How safe is the campus and the community?
- How reliable is campus security? (Request a campus security report.)
- What other safety programs are available (student escorts, emergency assistance lights or phones)?