30 Questions You Need to Ask Before Choosing a College

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As you conduct your college search online, in person, and in books, keep these questions in mind as you determine the fit and feel of a school, as well as how it can best serve your educational and career goals. 

Location

  • What is the nature of the surrounding environment (urban, suburban, rural, etc.), and is it to your liking?
  • What is the size of the school’s campus, both in terms of acreage (an important consideration if your classes and/or dorm are far apart!) and number of students, and is it to your liking?
  • Is the weather during the academic year to your liking?
  • Are there accessible internship and other career opportunities, recreational opportunities, and amenities like grocery stores in the area?
  • Can you live off campus if you want to, or if living on campus is important to you, is housing available?

Academics

  • Does the school have the major(s) you’re considering, or if you’re undecided, do they have a variety of majors you’re interested in exploring?
  • Does the school have an honors college?
  • How will the school help you determine and achieve your academic goals?
  • How many students graduate “on time,” in four years?
  • What is the average class size for introductory courses? For advanced courses?
  • What are the professors in your programs like? What are they known for, and what have they accomplished?
  • What kinds of internship and student-faculty research opportunities are there?
  • What kind of accreditation does the program hold? How is it regarded in the field?
  • Does the school offer a writing center or other tutoring programs?
  • What is the student-faculty ratio?

Career services

  • How will the school help you determine and achieve your career goals?
  • What is their postgraduate job placement rate like?
  • What does the career services office offer?  
  • What kinds of internships have students held and how did they find those opportunities?

Cost

  • What percentage of students receives financial aid, and how much on average?
  • What percentage of students graduates with debt, and how much on average?
  • Does financial aid include loans?
  • How many years does it typically take students to graduate (because each year is another year of tuition, plus financial aid and scholarships might not extend beyond four years)?
  • What kinds of scholarships are available to students (awarded by academic achievement, through college departments, etc.)?
  • What kinds of work-study opportunities are there?

Extracurriculars and social life

  • How do students spend their free time on campus and off?
  • What kinds of fun things are available to students through the school and in the community?
  • From sports teams to musical groups to volunteer organizations: can you get or stay involved with activities that are important to you?
  • Are there clubs or organizations that pertain to your major or field of study?
  • Can students start their own clubs, and what is the process for doing so?

There you have it: 30 questions you really should ask yourself of every college you're seriously considering. (You'll find even more examples—and helpful college search advice—here.) But also feel free to tweak these questions or add your own, depending on what's important to you!

Did we miss any crucial college questions? Leave a question and let us know!

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