When assembling their target list of colleges, many high school athletes start with their “dream schools.” However, reality can sometimes intrude on those dreams and you may need to take a closer look at a school to see if it’s truly the right place for you. So, before you start considering any scholarship offers, take a few minutes to consider these 25 questions to help find the best college for you. Think through your replies and use those answers as your checklist for what you’re looking for in a college and a college experience.
- What is your preferred area of study? Does a given school offer a major in the area or areas you’re interested in?
- Would you be willing to pursue another major? If a school doesn’t offer what you’re looking for, are you willing to change your major just to attend that school?
- Do you prefer courses taught by full-time professors or graduate students? Professors may be older and have a greater depth of knowledge. Graduate students tend to be younger, more flexible, and may be able to relate more to students.
- Do you prefer lecture-style classes or discussion-style classes? The difference can be as simple as being lectured to in large class halls or smaller classrooms where everyone can participate in the lesson and discussion.
- Do you want to explore other subjects or do you prefer to strictly pursue your major? In other words, do you want options to explore and discover? For example, a predominantly engineering-based school may not offer liberal arts curriculum or business classes.
- Does a school’s reputation or prestige factor matter to you?
- Have you met the academic requirements for admission? Remember that different schools have different standards.
Find Where You Fit
- Are you looking for a social campus, a quiet, intimate campus, or a commuter campus? Consider enrollment numbers. A college with 60,000 students will have more social activities than a school with an enrollment of 16,000. A commuter school may have 6,000 students but with a smaller campus and commensurately fewer social activities.
- How close to or how far away from home do you wish to be?
- Do you want to attend a school where you already have friends and acquaintances?
- If the weather is a factor, are you looking for a “warm weather” school, a “cold weather” school, or a school with four seasons and a temperate climate?
- Do you want a sprawling campus with lots of green space, or a more compact, urban campus?
- Do you want to attend a school in a large city or a smaller college town?
- Do you want to attend a church-affiliated college or university? Remember that admission standards may be higher and students may have to adhere to additional rules.
- What kind of social and extracurricular activities do you want to pursue while in college?
- Do you want to go to college with people who share your values?
- Do you want to go to a college with a larger, more diverse student body and the environment?
- Do you want to attend a school small enough that you’ll always see people you know on campus?
- What kind of experiences and opportunities are you looking for while in college? Beyond campus activities, do you want the opportunity to study abroad? Professional internships? Hands-on learning experiences?
With these questions, assume you’re considering a given school without the benefit of a full scholarship.
- How much are you or your parents willing to pay for your college education?
- Do you qualify for any scholarships, grants, or financial aid?
- Will you be working to pay your own bills at college?
- Is the cost-of-living in a specific college town affordable for a working college student? The cost-of-living for students in larger cities can be significantly higher than those in smaller college towns.
- Will you need tuition assistance through some form of work-study program?
- Will you need to take out a loan to pay for college?
Did you enjoy this article on 25 questions to help find the best college for you? If so, check out more of our recruiting articles HERE.