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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Deciding where you will go to college shouldn’t be a decision that is taken lightly. You have to consider the fact that you will be spending the next four years at this institution, so you need to be sure you will be able to fully integrate into campus.

This means making sure they have your major, or majors you could be interested in pursuing, extra curriculars you could enjoy, the academics are challenging, yet doable, so on and so forth. 

You need to be sure the school is the right size for your needs, if you fear getting lost in the shuffle -- a big school might not be for you. However, if you would prefer having larger classes then, maybe a big school is better for you. 

There are lots of factors that need to be thought of before making your decision. Don’t base your decision off of where your friends, your significant other, or your parents went to school. At the end of the day, determining the best fit is all about you! 

We have put together a list of all the last minute things you should think about before deciding to accept an offer from a school. Don’t just select a school because they gave you the most money or because your guidance counselor thinks it’s the best in the area. 

Focus on fit and be honest about your wants and needs. It’s ok to be the only one from your class going to a school. This is about the next four years, your goals and aspirations, and your future career! 

Here is what you should think about before making your final decision: 

  • Size Matters 
  • What is Your Future Major? 
  • Extracurriculars Vary 
  • Look at Post-Graduate Statistics 
  • Factor in Your Finances 
  • Campus Safety 
  • Sports Agenda 
  • Take a Campus Tour 
  • Understand That You Can Change Your Mind 

Size Matters 

The size of your future school is very important based on what type of student you are. 

School size is definitely something that should be at the top of your priority list. You can put most schools into two categories: large and small. Medium sized schools can probably be grouped on the same side as smaller schools and that’s because large schools have a huge student body compared to medium and small sized schools. 

Now why does this matter? Well the size of the school will determine what your classes look like during your freshman and sophomore year. As you get further into your major, class size will naturally start to shrink because there will be only upperclassmen taking these courses. 

However, as a freshman, you will be required to take gen-eds and lower level classes in your major. Even though these classes will still be major specific, you could have a significant number of classmates depending on how many people are exploring that major, or need that class for a different major. 

So what is a gen-ed? These classes are often required by the college regardless of your major. For example, an all-college requirement may be one to two semesters of a language. These college requirements are in place to make students more well-rounded. This means, if you’re a STEM major, your college may require you to take an art class in order to be more aware and well versed in other subjects. 

Back to our discussion of size. Since colleges require gen-ed classes, all freshmen and sophomore students will be taking them during their first two years in order to get them out of the way before moving deeper into their major classes. 

At large schools, there could be anywhere from 200-400 students in your classes. These are usually taught in an auditorium, and sometimes the professor will be projected onto a screen for you to have a better view of them. At small schools, you will usually have 100 or less students in a gen-ed class and these are taught in a traditional manner. 

So, if you are a student who enjoys an independent, hands off approach, a big school may be for you. But if you need a more structured, intimate setting where you will get individualized attention from your professor, you may choose a small school. 

Choosing a bigger school can make it more different to build a personal relationship with your professor. You will probably have to put in more effort to go to their office hours and send emails in order to be noticed. 

It’s important to remember that professors have connections, and the closer you are to your professor, the more inclined they will be to share these connections and even recommend you for jobs or internships. 

What is Your Future Major?

As you can probably imagine, bigger schools will have a larger selection and variety of majors than smaller schools. This is often due to the number of professors on campus and the capacity they have to teach a variety of majors. 

If you already have your major picked out before going to college, then the decision is easy for you. You can pick between large and small schools that offer your major. 

However, if you don’t have your major pre-determined, then school size matters once again. A bigger school will have more options and if you’re going in with a completely open mind -- the more options the better. This is especially important if you have no idea of what you want to do, and the wider variety of classes you take, the quicker you will be able to determine what you enjoy. 

If you’re going into college questioning a few subjects, you might choose your school depending on if they offer majors in all of those subjects. For example, if you know you will be choosing between English, history, and political science, nearly all schools have these majors. So, you won’t really have to choose between school size. 

However, if you are looking at more specific majors like tourism management, adventure/wilderness therapy, or aerospace engineering, then your options will be more limited. You might have to go to a small or large school depending on where your major is offered. 

You can go into college with a completely open mind, but you should be starting to think about what subjects you enjoy the most and what type of career you envision. This will factor into what school is the best fit for you. 

Extracurriculars Vary 

Tips from current students are a great way to get a sense of how to make a decision and what factors are most important. 

Circling back to our discussion on school size -- extracurriculars vary and this largely depends on school size. For example, if you are dead set on joining your college rowing team, a small school of 5,000 or less students in the middle of Pennsylvania probably isn’t going to have a rowing team. 

Our point is, if you’re going into college knowing you want a specific extracurricular to be available to you -- it’s a good idea to make sure your potential schools offer it. 

Not all schools have Greek life, and if you’re going into college fairly certain you want to join a fraternity or sorority, then you should make sure the schools you’re looking at have Greek life on campus. 

This goes for nearly every campus club, student organization, sport, etc, that you potentially want to be involved with. Give yourself all the possible options!

Look at Post-Graduate Statistics 

Before you decide on a college, look at the statistics. You’re probably going to college in order to get a job right? Well, the best way to tell what your job prospects look like is to view the statistics. 

For starters, colleges will have a percentage of students who graduate in four years. If the college is showing a low percentage, this means it took most students more than four years to earn their degree. 

Assuming you want to graduate in four years, you’ll likely want a school showing a higher statistic. College will also have stats of post-graduates -- if they got a job, if they continued their education, etc. These are all good resources for helping determine your best fit. 

Finally, see if your potential colleges offer career services to students, the more resources you have to help you find a job after college, the better. 

Factor in Your Finances 

Filling out the FAFSA is important for any college student who wants to receive aid. Image courtesy of Student Loan Hero.

Money will always be an important factor. You need to consider how you will pay for college -- if it’s completely up to you, if your family will help, scholarships, grants, loans, etc. 

If you are low on finances you may consider starting at a community college and transferring after your gen-eds are finished. This helps you save money and your final degree will be from the college you transferred to. 

Private schools are usually more expensive, but they are known to give more scholarships and financial aid than public schools. 

When it comes to money, you need to look at how you will pay for it, the assistance your potential schools are offering you, and what you can afford. Be honest and make the choice that’s best for you. 

Campus Safety 

Campus safety may be a huge priority for some students. City schools can be more dangerous than rural ones. You want to look at things like -- do your potential schools have on campus police, are there safety buttons across campus that you can press in the event of an emergency, can you be escorted across campus to your if you’re leaving the library late at night? 

All of these need to be taken into consideration because the more safe and secure you feel at your school, the more comfortable you will feel living there. 

Sports Agenda 

For some future students, being able to play a sport in college is a very important factor in their decision making. Image courtesy of Athleticacademix.

If you know you want to play a sport in college, you may be recruited in your final year of high school. Some schools will give you additional scholarships if you agree to play a sport for them. This could be very beneficial for you if sports are a top priority. 

If you plan to be a walk-on, it’s a good idea to make sure your college offers the sport you want to play. As we’ve said before, a small college in Pennsylvania probably won’t have a rowing team. So, narrow your list of potential schools to ones that offer rowing as a sport. 

You should also try to determine what is most important to you -- academics or athletics. D1 athletes are known for making a bigger commitment to sports than academics. If you want to fully immerse yourself in your academics while playing a sport, going to a D3 school is a great way to achieve the best of both worlds. You’ll be able to play, while also spending significant time on your studies. 

When choosing between sports and academics, it’s best to determine your priorities and make your decision based on what you value most. 

Take a Campus Tour 

Actually visiting potential schools is a great way to determine if you could see yourself there. If you see campus and realize it’s too small or too big, you’ll be able to better determine the size that best fits your needs. 

Or if you visit a school’s art building knowing you want to major in music, and absolutely hate the program, building, or equipment, then you know that school isn’t right for you. 

Seeing campus, understanding it’s culture, and how it operates are all great ways to determine if you will be able to fit in and see yourself attending that school.

Understand That Your Can Change Your Mind

If you haven’t found the best fit after the first try, you always have the option to transfer. 

Finally, understand that you have options. If you leave high school thinking you have found the college of your dreams, but after one semester realize that it’s not what you thought -- it’s ok to transfer. 

Just because you started attending a school doesn’t mean you have to continue going there. You have options, and if it isn’t working out like you planned, know that you can transfer and that it’s ok to transfer! 

We make mistakes, and sometimes even if we think we have made the best choice, it might end up being the wrong one. If this happens to be your case, don’t worry -- because where there’s a problem, there’s also a solution. 

All of these factors should be kept in mind when making your final decision. Be honest, open-minded, and true to yourself when deciding what school is the best fit for you!