When it comes to choosing a college that’s right for you, it is extremely crucial that you spend an adequate amount of time researching your future college. Basing your decision solely on the size of the campus or the student life would not be wise. Remember that this is your future we are talking about; you want to be able to graduate with a degree that holds weight when presented to a potential employer.
One of the first questions you should ask yourself, or an academic advisor, is if the college offers the major you are interested in. Obviously, if they do not offer what you want to do, you need to explore other options.
Here are some college search tips that will help you in choosing your perfect college.
What is your budget?
Come up with your overall budget. You need to keep in mind that college is very expensive and the cost of books quickly adds up. Come up with the total amount you will have available per semester and divide your budget accordingly. After you have done so, you can narrow your college search by choosing the places that fit into your budget. If you are determined to go to a certain college but it is slightly over your budget, consider a student loan that you can pay back after you graduate. Better yet, try to make arrangements to work a part-time job to help cover the difference needed for your education costs. You need to be very disciplined and plan your budget ahead of time so you are not stuck in a financial bind down the road.
Do you have a place to stay?
This might sound simple, but make sure you have a place to stay when you arrive on campus freshman year. If your college is close by, consider staying at home to cut down on costs. If not, start documenting the process needed to get into a dorm at your institution or find some friends to split an apartment with. All of these are viable options, just don't try to find something at the last minute. Plan ahead and make sure you have a place to stay before your first day of class.
Other things to think about
Besides the most common things listed above, you also need to research your college. See how it stacks up against others in the country (college rankings) and find out what the student/teacher ratio is. The easiest way to do this is to go to your local bookstore and purchase a college review publication; there are a bunch of them to choose from. The student/teacher ratio is especially important if you like personal attention from your teachers and the ability to ask questions in class. Most importantly, see what things are most important to you and use the third-party publications to rank your potential choices accordingly. Ideally, you want to have fun in college but you can't forget about your primary objective, which is to attain a great education that will help you be successful in the future.