What are the most important factors to consider while researching colleges?
Obviously you are going to care about the academic press at the college. I also believe that it is important to consider the extracurricular options as well. All work and no play is not healthy. Plus, if you've had a tough day in the classroom, you want to look forward to going back to your residence hall. How engaged are students on campus, does the place empty out on the weekends, what do folks do to relax? It goes without saying that financial aid packages can be a deal breaker. Please, please, please make sure that you look closely at those award letters and separate out the grant/free $$ and the loan/debt burden you'll be saddled with. Some students will only want small size classes, while others are looking forward to big time college sports. Others want city vibe, some want the suburbs and others like the idea of being in the middle of no where with a cute campus town. All of these factors are easily observed as you tour campuses.