What are the most important factors to consider when choosing a college?
The applicant needs to decide which factors are most important to him or her. Each applicant is an individual and at the end of the day it is about determining the best fit and finding it.
Overall, the most important thing to remember is that you want to find the best fit for the student. Specifically, that includes considerations of cost, academic program, the make-up of the student body, the size of the school and the academic opportunities t that result. Too, things like geography, distance from home, and co-curriculars and the social life, not to mention freshmen retention rates and graduate school are all relevant considerations, and yet for all the things that can be listed, oftentimes it comes down to a feel, a comfort level and that is part of why it is so important to visit, if at all possible, prior to making the decision.
Is the school a good match for you, personally and academically? Only you can know what you need in a school and what matters to you most. Location, cost, academic programs, social life, sports–any or all of these might have a major influence on your choices.
Rather than worry about what others think is important or getting caught up in a college’s rankings in a variety of areas, figure out what you want out of your college experience and do good research to find the schools that will provide those things.
The most important factors to consider are those that are important to you.
Can you imagine yourself being happy there for four years? That is the first question you should ask. Can you see yourself making friends, taking great classes, getting involved in amazing activities? Can you see yourself as part of the community? What does the college do to help freshmen get involved and connected? What does it do to help you progress all four years? These and many other questions can help kids decide. VISITING is key as it helps kids SEE. Also finances often play a deciding factor. Is one school offering you so much more financially that it becomes your top choice?
The most important factor in choosing a college is whether or not the college has your chosen program of study. You also have to choose a school where you will be successful and enjoy yourself. Cost, distance from home, size, extra curricular, and living accommodations are also factors that you should consider. Weighing out the advantages and disadvantages will be important to help you make your final decision.
Some important factors to consider when choosing a college should be:
1) size (do you want a small, medium, or large campus?)
2) location (does a big city appeal to you or are you a small-town kid? What about weather? Do you love the sun or are you a ski bunny?)
3) academic offerings (does the school offer the programs you’re looking for?)
4) outcomes (what happens to the school’s graduates when they leave?)
There are many other things to consider but these 4 areas are a great start!
Whatever are the most important factors for you. Make a list of what you want a college to have. Make a list of what you think would be an extra if a college offered. Then, look at your list of schools and check those things off. How well does the school match up with your wants and needs? Very simple.
Students should focus on finding the college that fits them the best instead of trying to fit themselves to a college. To find the best fit, students need to prioritize and determine the ideal attributes they seek in the ideal campus. In most cases, some of the more easily qualifiable things to consider are the advertised educational philosophy of the campus, retention/graduation rates, location, student to professor ratio, average class sizes, unique opportunities both in and out of the classroom, cost (including not only cost of attendance but also average financial aid packages/percentage of students receiving various types of aid), placement rates of recent graduates, majors/minors (including course of study guides and flexibility/restrictions), and things that give a particular campus its “flavor” (athletics/band programs/student support systems/greek system/etc.). Ultimately, students who can
define what it is they seek in an ideal college will find that finding that college is easier than they thought.
Students should focus on finding the college that fits them the best instead trying to fit themselves to a college. To find the best fit, students need to prioritize and determine the ideal attributes they seek in the ideal campus. In most cases, some of the more easily qualifiable things to consider are the advertised educational philosophy of the campus, retention/graduation rates, location, student to professor ratio, average class sizes, unique opportunities both in and out of the classroom, cost (including not only cost of attendance but also average financial aid packages/percentage of students receiving various types of aid), placement rates of recent graduates, majors/minors (including course of study guides and flexibility/restrictions), and things that give a particular campus its “flavor” (athletics/band programs/student support systems/greek system/etc.). Ultimately, students who can
define what it is they seek in an ideal college will find that finding that college is easier than they thought.
Two Top Factors for Choosing a College:
#2) Will I be successful there?
#1) Will I be happy there?
Makes it sound easy to make a decision doesn’t it? I believe the more complicated or factors involved in a decision the more we can get bogged down and our thinking can become overloaded.
Students should focus on finding the college that fits them the best instead of trying to fit themselves to a college. To find the best fit, students need to prioritize and determine the ideal attributes they seek in the ideal campus for them. In most cases, some of the more easily qualifiable things to consider are the advertised educational philosophy of the campus, retention/graduation rates, location, student to professor ratio, average class sizes, unique opportunities both in and out of the classroom, cost (including not only cost of attendance but also average financial aid packages/percentage of students receiving various types of aid), placement rates of recent graduates, majors/minors (including course of study guides and flexibility/restrictions), and things that give a particular campus its “flavor” (athletics/band programs/student support systems/greek system/etc.). Ultimately, students who can define what it is they seek in an ideal college will find that finding that college is easier than they thought.
All students should spend time self-reflecting during the college search in order to identify great college matches. Ultimately, students need to know: who am I? what are my goals? Below are some questions that help me propose college matches for students; they might help you to narrow your focus.
What class/teacher/book challenged you?
How do you learn?
What do you dream about?
What do you wish you had more time to spend on?
The two most important factors are the fit between the student and the University and the department that houses the student’s intended major.
First, College visits are so vital because the student must feel a sense of belonging at their university. Many studies have shown that retention rates are strongly influenced by how many quality connections students make on campus. Your college will be your home for years and you want to feel like you belong there.
The second most important factor is the department that the student will earn their degree from. A college may have a great reputation but it’s the department that students should take a hard look at. Try to identify which major you will be pursuing before you choose your college and do some research on their faculty and reputation in the field. In the long run the reputation of the department you graduate from may mean more to employers than your College Mascot.
Curriculum & a backup if you change your direction; dietary needs met, campus location desirability, affordability is last.
Although each student probably has a different list of criteria for selecting a college, there are certain areas which come up frequently:
1. Can you afford the school?
2. Does the school have the major or the program you’re currently interested in?
3. Is the school’s location appealing or practical?
4, What is the school’s reputation and how good are your job prospects if you graduate from the school?
5. Are students overall satisfied with the school (check out the retention and graduation rates)
6. Does the school have a religious orientation that you’re comfortable or uncomfortable with?
7. And if you’re at the beginning of the admissions process, how easy or difficult will it be for you to be accepted to the school?
Who are you? What are you looking for in a school? What do you like and where do you like living? What are your goals, interests, talents, desires?
The factors that are important in selecting a college depend on what is important to you. Some typical factors (in no particular order) are:
– Majors offered
– Facilities (e.g., labs, libraries)
– Availability of Internships or co-op opportunities
– Job placement of graduates
– Per cent of students who continue on to graduate school
– Study abroad opportunities
– How hard it is to get admitted
– Distance from Home
– Availability of financial aid
– Religious or political influence
– Ethnicity of the student body
– Gender mix of the school
– Greek life
– Whether students commute or live on campus
– Extracurricular activities
– Spectator sports
The size of the college or university – some student like a small enclosed campus, where other prefer a large school or one that has buildings throughout the city.
Distance from your home – is the college located close enough where you can come home to visit if want.?
Class size – 25 or 150,
Majors – Does the college offer the major you are interested in pursuing?
Cost – Does the college fit in you budget?
A number of factors should be considered in choosing a college. First, of course, would be the quality of the program(s) which you’re interested in studying. Do graduates have success in finding employment or going on to graduate school? Financial factors should, of course, be considered – What is the tuition? What kinds of financial assistance are available. Other factors to consider are: the kind of environment you prefer – rural, suburban, urban; whether you’d rather be on a self-contained campus or one which is integrated into a city; the social culture of the institution; the size of the student body; average class size; the kinds of extracurricular activities available – music, sports, etc.; whether the school has a strong religious orientation. Even the prevailing climate in the areas at which you’re looking should be considered. It would be a good idea to carefully think about what is important to you, what would make you feel happy and enjoy your days in an educational environment, and then consider those aspects when choosing a college.
A successful student is a happy student and you need to invest some thought in the factors that will help you to succeed at college. As you research colleges you should think about factors as diverse as academic fit, geographic and cultural aspects, ease in traveling to the campus, financial requirements, typical class size, student/faculty ratio and campus culture.
This is a very important question that should be different for most students. You obviously can start with location (close to home or far way), do you want a school in the city or suburbs, number of students (small or big school or is class size important), Christian vs. Non-Christian, Cost or the major you are interested in pursuing among others.
Once you pick the one (or more) of the factors above that are important you can start talking about more on campus factors like the dorms, the food, the facilities, library, etc. These are factors that will be decided upon after a visit on the campus.
When visiting you can also ask about real specific factors that may be important to you like placement in jobs after you graduate in the major you are interested in, campus safety statistics, study abroad, etc.
There are a lot of factors that you can consider but it is up to you which ones are the most important and then what colleges match those factors.
Choosing a college is such a personal experience. It can be challenging to not succumb to the influences of family/friends, marketing tactics and financial factors. It is important to determine that the school offers the course of study that interests you. It is equally critical that you feel good about the extracurriculars as well. Distance from home, size of school, location of the campus, and financial aid are all valid points to weigh in the decision making process.
10 good reasons to choose a college
1. The academics include lots of great courses in your possible major or areas about
which you are curious.
2. A high percentage of the freshman who start at the college graduate from there.
3. The workload appears to be academically challenging, but not out of your reach.
4. There are a variety of intramural or sports teams to consider.
5. The extracurricular offerings align closely with your interests.
6. You and your parents are comfortable with the distance from home.
7. The size of the student body is well matched to your needs and desires.
8. You’ve spent time thinking about what you like and don’t like in a college and as best
as possible you have put aside “trendy” notions that don’t suit you.
9. You’ve spoken with grads or students of the college and they are happy with their
10. The school emphasizes certain areas, values, ethnicity, gender, faith, art,
community, music, Sports that are important to you.
10 mistakes to avoid when choosing a college
1. Your entire group of high school friends is applying to it so you can all remain
2. The campus must be near a shopping mall.
3. This is the school your parents attended; they were happy there and are sure you
will be too.
4. This college is the only one for you and you aren’t bothering to investigate others.
5. The school is so close to home that your parents will still do your laundry and feed
you a couple of times a week!
6. You have almost no firsthand experience with the college but the rankings are great.
7. None of your interests are represented at the school, but who cares? It’s popular.
8. You’ll be the smartest student on campus
9. It’s cheap.
10. It has a great football team.
If the school is a good fit academically and socially
Location. Make sure your preference of school location will offer academic advantage otherwise, it will not benefit you in the long run.
Affordability. If you have limited funds to use for college, and you haven’t received any scholarships, you should definitely make a financial plan. shortcomings to avoid wasting of your money.
Academics. It’s helpful to have at least a vague idea of what you’d like to study, so you can choose an institution tha has programs related to it. It’s improtant to remember that, first and foremost, you’re at school to learn.
Size. Know how many people you’d like to be surronded by – will you learn better when you have small classes and personal attention from professors, or do you work more efficiently when you’re independent and can blend into the background of large lectures. Just remember… it is not good idea to go to a school just because a bunch of friends are going there… Always consider the academic advantages.
Students and their families frequently focus on admission to brand name
colleges and universities rather than schools that meet academic and
personal needs. My role is to guide students and their families through
the challenges of preparing for and gaining admission to a college or
university that will support their academic, social and personal goals. As
an Educational Consultant my objective is to simplify the college search
process and maximize educational opportunities. I assist families in
identifying a student’s strengths, interests, talents and goals to identify
a range of colleges most appropriate for their child. By educating families
about the range of educational options available, families learn that there
are many colleges which will offer an excellent academic and
extracurricular experience for their child.
Download Collegeapp if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. It’s a free app that enables students to create an avatar using fit attributes such as size, location, Greek life, geography, climate, cost and selectivity. These are among some of the most important fit factors.
The best way to determine what factors will be important considerations is to begin by visiting a variety of college campuses. Students who visit a broad range of schools are able to tease out aspects of campuses that appeal to them. This is the process of learning the elements of a good fit school. Students should feel good on campus. A campus should be able to stretch the student to enable growth while providing comfort. The three elements of fit are academic, social and financial. A good fit will encompass all three components.
Here is my video response to the question.
Do they have the program(s) and courses you want to study? the activities you’d like to participate in? the support you need – academically, socially, and in the areas of your interests? Can you afford it (check out financial aid)? Will you be happy there?
When considering colleges, do the homework! One does not buy a house or a car, which carry comparable value, without weighing the pros and cons. As much as students and families want to send their progeny to the best school, “best” is a relative concept. If you struggled in the “regular” courses and nose-dived in honors or AP courses, then highly selective college settings may not be your “best” fit.
On the other hand, if a student has yet to confront any intellectual challenges which unsettled their “mental mettle” then they may want to consider very selective schools here in the US and abroad.
The search hinges on knowing yourself well. Some students are hard workers constantly seeking to best their last showing as evidenced by an exam score. Others know that the last thing they seek is more study and longer study at that. In sum think about how you approach things academic.
Secondly, investigate your interests. Shadow someone who is doing professionally a task or work you know, or think you enjoy. I counseled a student who was certain he wanted to be a doctor, until he sat in on a surgery – he fainted at the sight of blood. Often I coach students who are adamant that they are called to engineering, despite failing physics and calculus!
Finally, visit campuses, whether virtually online or in the area. Many think their ideal is a gorgeous, leafy setting with beautiful old buildings; until they see contemporary edifices in sunny southern California. Ivy grows beyond the Northeast corridor.
The best way to prepare for the admission process is to try it on by applying for summer programs, internships and other opportunities requiring thoughtful renderings of your ideas and in-person interviews. If you hate the dry runs, then tweak your college aims and lists accordingly. Until one has a better sense of self through “testing” the waters in other venues, it’s hard to be absolute about the “ideal” setting.
I knew I wanted a venue where I would be successful, enjoy warm weather and have the opportunity to change (my major several times) and my sense of self. As a first-generation student, I also knew I needed a place which would not leave me hugely indebted. Texas worked for me and later that Ivy League setting.
Get to know yourself and then find the niche for your “self” to grow and explore and hone your gifts. Visit campuses and apply for other opportunities and experiences beyond your familiarity and comfort zone. Do your homework-first on yourself and then on the setting that best affirms your gifts and interests.
When choosing a college some important factors that you should consider are:
– Class size
– Student to faculty ratio
– Who teaches most of the courses, professors or teaching assistants
– Majors and minors offered at the school
– The distance the college/university is from your home
– Travel fees (if applicable)
– Cost of college/university
– Size of the college/university
– Study abroad opportunities
– Amount of scholarships and or grants offered
– Graduation rate
– School safety
– Alumni relations
– Job placement
Choosing a college should be a reflection of who you are and what you hope to become. In a way, the real purpose of college should expand beyond receiving a quality education, but also growing as a person and a leader. Hence, the most important factors in choosing a college depend on your own interests, values, goals, beliefs, views, strengths, and weaknesses. I could list the usual suspects such as graduation rate, diversity, class size, reputation, professors, extracurricular activities, etc. However, what you might deem as a top priority someone else might not. Also, the tradeoffs among the different factors that each individual is willing to make may vary.
Our advice is to construct a list of your goals, views, interests, values, etc. that are important to you, prioritize these factors, and check off which colleges harmonize with the highest numbers of these factors because each college will have tradeoffs. For example, Harvard is known for its innovative research, which may come at the cost of large class size and less access to certain professors. When you establish what is most important to your future, the right college will fit like a glove. You will have the feeling that this college is right for me!
students shall understand what each college has to offer and what they are looking for. many colleges will not work for students trying to find answers for four years.
rention rate and career placement are the two most important facts for many students.
Would you be happy there…that is the only question.
This is a good question, but one that only you can answer. The very first thing you should do is to have a good look at yourself and decide what’s important to you in choosing a college. What characteristics does a college need to have in order to be interesting to you? Is class size important? Is it important for professors to teach you in your first year? Is graduation rate important? Retention rate? Study abroad? Scholarships or other financial aid? Ranking? Fame? Community atmosphere? You can’t do good shopping unless you know what you’re shopping for.
The one most important factor in choosing a college is “fit” – and knowing what you want will help you find schools that fit you, and where you can be happy, thrive, and grow, instead of just attend, adapt, and get a degree.
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The sources for school statistics and data is the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.
This is an offer for educational opportunities that may lead to employment and not an offer for nor a guarantee of employment. Students should consult with a representative from the school they select to learn more about career opportunities in that field. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific program curriculum. Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.