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Choosing a college is a big decision.  It’s where you will spend the next 4-5 years of your life, and eventually where you’ll graduate from.

There are many colleges and universities to choose from, making the choice even harder.

If you are in high school, you should first meet with a guidance counselor to discuss your options, then take a tour of colleges, talk with your parents and do some research on your own.

What to consider when looking for a college:

Class sizes

There are private colleges where you can get to know your professors and classmates better. The classes are much smaller, so you will probably experience more discussion based learning and one on one time with your professor. Universities have much larger class sizes, sometimes with over 200 students. Keep in mind, some universities also have discussion sessions of 20-30 students. This gives students a chance to ask questions and discuss course topics with other students. Assess your own learning style to help determine which environment is right for you.

Tuition

You’ll want to know the tuition amount and determine what you think you’ll be able to afford to be able to attend school while paying for living costs. Keep in mind, you may qualify for Financial Aid to help pay for college. Most students take out loans to go to college. It really depends on how much you can take out and how much you are willing to pay off once you graduate.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Programs offered

Research your desired major and find out which colleges offer the degree program you want to pursue. Some colleges focus more on specific programs, offering more challenging courses and opportunities. Do some research on the courses to help determine if the program you are interested in will teach you the skills you need to reach your career goals.

Location

Students attending college in-state will have lower tuition costs than out-of-state students. If this is a factor in your decision, you may want to consider attending a  college in state. However, if an excellent program for your intended major is offered at an out-of-state college, it’d be worth while to do some research to find out if it’s the right college for you.

Extracurricular activities

This may not be at the top of the list, but if you are someone who wants to play a sport, be involved with music, join a student club or any other activities while attending college, it’s important to research the extracurricular activities. Getting involved in extracurricular activities at your school will make your college a better experience. Plus, it looks great on your resume!

Essentially, when considering college, you will want to try to match the right college with your intended major, interests, and personality. You may prefer a small classroom, for example. Every individual will have different preferences when it comes to college. Ultimately, it’s important to do your research and weigh your options to make the best choice possible for yourself.

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