You've been accepted. Congrats! Now you have a choice to make...and some more research to do.
Yes, some colleges may be household names or are well known for their prestige...but do they really have what you’re looking for? In order to find out which college is the right fit for you, you need to keep up your research. Open up your college search spreadsheet again and revisit the website of the college(s) you are most interested in. If you can’t find what you are looking for, e-mail or call the admission office. Here are five big factors you should research one more time before choosing a college to ultimately attend.
Related: Top National Decision Day Advice
1. Major and minor options
If you know what you want to major in and possibly what you would minor in, it is very important to know if the college you want to go to offers those programs. If that major and minor are both offered, do even deeper research into the program’s reputation, the course offerings, and what they entail. If you are not sure what you want to study, check out the college’s list of majors and minors, or see if they have an exploratory studies program. Make sure you are interested in at least some of their options and that you are comfortable with what is offered in case you want to change your major down the road.
2. Number of students/student-faculty ratio
Making sure you know how many students are at the college is really important, because it’ll help determine the community you’ll be living in for the next four or more years. Do you want a smaller student population or a larger one? You can find out the number of students at any college very easily online. Another aspect of college to consider is the student-faculty ratio, meaning how many teachers there are compared to students. This ratio will help you get a better sense of the average class size and how likely it will be to have a close relationship with your professors.
3. Athletics and clubs
College is a place to find out what you are really interested in and the perfect time to pursue those passions. So, it is really important that you look into the different student groups offered at each school of interest. Whether you want to play on a sports team or be a part of a certain club on campus, research whether or not the college has opportunities for you, as well as the option to make your own club if you don’t see what you’re looking for.
4. Life on campus
One of the most memorable parts of your college experience will be what life was like on campus and outside of the classroom. You may want a politically specific community, a campus where everyone knows each other, a place where tons of activities are happening every night, or a combination of different qualities. Make sure you do your research to find out what life on campus is really like. This may mean reading student blogs or contacting a current student to get the real inside scoop, or even visiting the campus again, maybe overnight. It is so important that you understand what campus life is like before choosing to attend, because it may make or break your college experience.
5. Financial aid
One of the key factors in the final college decision is financial aid. Compare the financial aid awards that each college has offered you and decide with your family which package works best within your budget. Also check to see if the colleges have any sort of institutional scholarships that are worth applying for. Even though this part of the college search is not as exciting as some other parts, it’s a step that needs to be taken in this big decision process.
So, which school will you attend this fall? When you decide, let us know in the comments!