Many high school graduates spend their last months or even their last year in school thinking about the college they’ll eventually attend. Kids at that age are usually thrown into the fire of making such significant decisions for themselves. Various brochures, texts, emails, and social media posts about potential universities will come your way, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Regardless of your wishes of how you want to spend your final months in high school, universities don’t waste time, and they’re doing whatever they can to get you signed up. Before making this life-changing decision, you need to consider several vital factors that will determine which university is the right choice for you. To recognize the one that best suits your needs, you must know yourself first and recognize what you value the most. From there on out, choosing the right university becomes so much easier.
These are some of the crucial factors you must consider when choosing a college
1. Choose The One You Can Afford To Attend
Higher education costs are not something to disregard when choosing a college. The rates will differ depending on the college rank and status. Find out how much their tuition costs are before applying. Moreover, check whether they offer different rates for out-of-state and in-state students since that can make a huge difference in some cases.
Never let the basic college price scare you off from your dream college. There’s always a way to lower the initial cost, like qualifying for a scholarship or applying for financial aid opportunities. Most colleges can offer lower tuition costs to meet your capabilities.
Making decisions before you’ve received an official decision from the school regarding the scholarship or financial aid is not a good move. Make your decision only when you’re able to see if you can afford to attend the school you want. More importantly, don’t think that the college’s fees are directly related to the quality of education it offers. Numerous state schools offer an exceptional learning environment for a fraction of the price that most private schools offer.
2. Look Into On-Campus Amenities & Facilities
Since the campus is where you’ll be spending a lot of time when you move there, it’s crucial that you feel comfortable living and spending all your time there. Going away from home is already hard enough, and that’s why you must know more about the on-campus facilities and all the amenities it has to offer. That way, you’ll be able to find the things you enjoy doing the most.
Begin with checking out the residence halls, and learn more about the types of accommodations they offer. Do they provide awesome on-campus suite-style or apartment-style spaces, or do they only have single and double rooms in a mixed dormitory? Ask about their eligibility requirements as well as how much they cost. Additionally, find out if there are any communities for students with special interests or academic inclinations.
Restaurants and dining halls are also critical facilities you should look into. Knowing upfront about the available meal plans, as well as where you can dine, is crucial. You must know if there are any restaurants available on campus or if you can only go to the dining halls. Nowadays, people are more conscious about their diet. Therefore, it’s essential to know if their dining halls can accommodate special dietary plans like gluten-free and vegan ones.
Learn more about their on-site services so you know where you can get medical assistance and care on campus. Additionally, it’s essential to know if the campus has nearby grocery stores, banks, pharmacies, etc.
The most sought-after facilities are probably the recreational ones. Find out if there’s a recreational center on-campus. Some colleges offer indoor and outdoor tracks, cardio equipment, personal training and group fitness classes, numerous sports courts for football, basketball, tennis, squash, etc. If you’re more into swimming than sweating on the court under the hot sun, ask if the college has a pool.
3. Find Out Which Academic Majors Are Available
If you have an exact idea in your mind about what you want to study, that’s great! What you should do next is to see which colleges on your selection list offer the academic major you want to study. After all, receiving a Ph. D. in the field you’re passionate about will increase your work morale in the future.
However, if you’re still undecided about what you’d like to study, it’s not a problem. If this is the case, what you need to do is to make sure that the colleges on your list offer various interesting majors. That way, you’ll be able to select your field after exploring what’s available, and you won’t need to transfer to another college.
Bear in mind that a lot of college students tend to switch majors during their time in college. Even if you think you know which fields you want to study, don’t be surprised if you decide to switch to another major along the way.
4. Assess Campus Location
Before deciding which college you’ll go to, make sure you understand its geographical location. Is the campus located in a rural, suburban, or urban area? By knowing its location, you’ll also know more about local transport options, facilities, etc. Also, make sure to learn about the climate conditions. It’s crucial to know if you’re going to a snowy area in a mountain range or near a sandy beach.
One of the most important geographical factors to know is whether the campus is far or close to your home. Moreover, what are your options when you need to go back home from campus? Find out if the college is near any train or bus stations. Having an airport close to campus if you’re looking for an out-state college will also be of tremendous help.
It’s impossible to decide which college to sign up for if you’re not completely familiar with what they have to offer. Check if you can afford it and ask around for financial aid or scholarships. Upon resolving the financial issues, make sure to learn more about the college’s location and what it has to offer in terms of facilities and amenities. Additionally, find out if the college offers the degree or academic discipline you’re interested in.