What Should I Look For in a College?

What should I look for in a college? If you’re a high school student or are planning on going back to school, you may have started asking yourself this question. While certain considerations pertain to certain people but not to others, there are a few things that every soon-to-be college student should think about.

Academic Offerings

Many students don’t decide on a major until they’re a year or two into their college career, and those that declare their majors before they start school often change their minds. According to NBC News, about 50 out of 100 college students change majors at least once, and some students end up switching majors two or three times. While you may not know exactly what you want to study, you probably do have some possibilities in mind.

So, what should I look for in a college?

If you can’t decide on a major before you start applying to colleges or think that there’s a possibility that you’ll change your mind later, look at schools that offer all of your possible majors. Even if you think your mind is made up, you may change it once you start actually taking classes in your chosen field.

Statistics

Statistics don’t lie. A person can tell you how good or bad he thinks a school is, but his opinion is just that – an opinion. As long as the numbers are being reported accurately, looking at statistics is the best way to learn about a school.

When it comes to these statistics, what should I look for in a college? 

There are lots of issues that you should research. Start out with graduation rates. The higher a college’s graduation rate is, the better the school is. Don’t forget to also look at the employment rate for recent graduates – if you won’t be able to get a job with your degree, there’s not much point of going to college in the first place. You can also look at other things that are important to you, such as the percentage of students who live in the dorms or how many clubs and activities are offered.

Cost

College is expensive, but not all schools cost the same. Local community colleges, for instance, are usually much more affordable than private out-of-state schools or study abroad options.

What should I look for in a college to make sure that I’m saving as much money as possible? 

The first and easiest thing to look at is a college’s sticker price, which is what somebody would have to pay if he or she didn’t qualify for any type of financial aid. Take this figure with a grain of salt, though, because you probably won’t have to pay the full amount. If you have good grades, look for schools that offer merit scholarships. If you’re good at sports, look for schools that might give you financial aid in exchange for playing on one of their teams.

To find a college that you’ll feel comfortable going to for four years, you need to look at a variety of factors. Once you get right down to it, though, what you should look for in a college depends on your interests, aspirations and priorities.

For More information on obtaining your degree, please see “The 20 Most Affordable Colleges with High Four-year Graduation Rates“.