Young White female holding and comparing an orange and apple in each hand

How to Choose Between 2 Similar Colleges

You've cut your final college list down to two, but they're so similar! Here's what to consider if you're having a hard time deciding between schools.

Choosing a college is hard enough, but choosing a college over one that is strikingly similar is another level of difficulty. Here’s what you should consider if you are having a hard time deciding between two final college choices.

Affordability

The first step is determining affordability. Oftentimes people think that public schools will not be much of a financial burden, but that may not be the case. Major public universities, such as Missouri State University and the University of Iowa, are preparing to face budget cuts. States are trying to account for budget gaps, and universities are easy victims because their losses can be made up through increases in tuition and fees, according to the Wall Street Journal.

With rising college prices, you need to understand how you can pay for college. Questions I asked myself included the following: 

  • Do I want to take out loans? If so, will I be able to repay them in a way that I am comfortable with?
  • Am I going to pursue education after my undergraduate degree? If so, will my graduate studies occur immediately after my undergraduate career or a little later?
  • Are my parents willing to help me out with the cost?
  • Can I handle having a job while being in school? 

Comparing your financial aid awards is an important piece of this puzzle. If you really can’t decide between two schools, it may be wise to choose the one that offered the better aid package for you and your family.

Career development

If financial aid isn’t a deciding factor, there are many other ways to make this tough choice. Another important aspect to consider is the opportunity to grow as a person and as a professional. Great student organizations allow you to see if you will feel a connection toward the school. Furthermore, a good internship program or other career-orientated activities can ensure a thriving future after college.

Related: 8 Reasons to Use the Career Center Before Senior Year

Community

When I was visiting schools, I also tried to look at the people. When I visited my current school, the people seemed extremely friendly. In fact, the tour that I took at Quinnipiac University was the only school that I left a tour guide evaluation form for. You will be making friends and potentially dating people at your school, so it is a subtle but wise factor to consider. Having good friends is quite helpful when you are stressed over finals. By staying overnight at the school, you can understand the social climate even better. Maybe you will see that the two schools you are stuck on are not that similar after all.

Academics and class size

While clubs and friends are important, you ultimately go to college to learn. A critical part of the learning process is the professors. How personable are the faculty? How engaged are the current students? Is the material presented in a preferable manner? You can find this out by sitting in a class. When I sat in a class at one of the schools I visited, I did not like how there were so many students. I felt like I was not important and that I would become just another face in a crowd. But if you prefer lecture-style classes (or if you plan to skip a lot…which you shouldn’t!), perhaps a bigger class is perfect for your needs. Also consider campus size. A close-knit campus may not only be beneficial for your grades but for your time as well. When you are rushing for class, a huge campus may not be the best option.

Related: 7 Perks of Attending a Small College or University

The lesson is: compare everything. Nothing is too tiny of a factor, because you will be spending quite a bit of time at your college. Weigh the positives against the negatives. The only way you will find out which school is best for you is by being proactive. Conduct research and immerse yourself in the environment, because the goal is to avoid transferring. 

How did you make your final college choice? What did it come down to? Let us know on social media!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About Afsha Kasam

I was born and raised in Albany, New York. I enjoy writing and reading, which is why a major in Strategic Communication both challenges and excites me. In my spare time, I love to write fictional stories and journalistic accounts. I also have a weakness for chocolate.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Mataya Mann

Mataya Mann

High School Class of 2022

To say that CollegeXpress is a helpful tool would be an understatement as it is much more than that. Before finding CollegeXpress, all I knew was that I wanted to go to college, it was going to be insanely expensive, and I felt lost. CollegeXpress has given me access to resources such as helpful tips for applications and scholarship [opportunities], and helped guide me in a direction where I feel confident moving forward and pursuing a career. CollegeXpress has helped instill a spark in me that makes me want to continue and supports me in doing so.

Victoria Fuss

Victoria Fuss

March Madness Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me dramatically. Moving on to the next level has been a dream of my mine since I was just a young kid, and the support and help CollegeXpress has given me will help me further my education. I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone at CollegeXpress!

Hannah Nelsen

Hannah Nelsen

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me look at colleges that fit my interests by taking my profile and matching it to colleges that have the programs I'm looking for. It has the ability to connect me to colleges so I can be contacted by them and look at them more in-depth to find what's right for me. Additionally, the scholarship database is super beneficial for getting scholarships for college. Not only does it help lift the financial burden of college but it shows all the opportunities available. Overall, CollegeXpress has been very helpful to me.

Cameron Lee

Cameron Lee

High School Class of 2022

I used CollegeXpress to search for colleges. It helped me narrow down the schools on the West Coast and which schools had Construction Engineering programs. I made my decision to go to OSU and I am so excited about it.

Jessica Rinker

Jessica Rinker

Student, Fairhaven High School; CollegeXpress Student Writer

My high school counselor introduced me to CollegeXpress freshman year. It has made such a difference in high school, and I plan to continue relying on it in college. CollegeXpress is my go-to because it addresses each aspect of being a student. There are the articles you’d expect regarding college applications and financial aid, but you will also find advice on things like de-stressing and maintaining relationships while balancing a heavy course load. CollegeXpress will also keep you updated on current scholarships through e-mails each Saturday. (They don’t harass you with any product promotion like so many other sites do.) CollegeXpress is a lot like an older sibling who has already conquered the challenges you are facing. Now, they are reaching out a helpful hand. I say take it.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Clarkson University

Potsdam, NY

Texas Wesleyan University

Fort Worth, TX

University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH

Saint Louis University

St. Louis, MO

Messiah University

Grantham, PA