Things to consider:
- The first step in developing a good college list is an honest self-assessment. Q’s to ask yourself: 1) Why am I going to college – what is the driving force (is it your parents? The social aspect? To pursue a specific academic degree to help you reach a future career goal?) 2) What are my academic interests? 3) What kind of student are you? - Are you strongly self-motivated to achieve or are you somewhat less ambitious academically? Do you need to be at or near the top of your class to feel good about yourself? Are you willing to actively seek out help or resources if you need them, or do you want them easily available with little effort on your part? 4) How do you learn best? 5) What activities outside of class matter most to you? 6) How important is prestige to you? 7) Do you want a diverse college?, 8) Where do you want to live the next four years?
- Factors that determine fit: 1)Academic, 2) Social, 3) Geographical, and 4) Financial – All of these factors combined determine whether a school is a right fit, meaning both that the school has what you need but also that you are the kind of student that the college is looking for.
- There is not one college for you. Most likely, there are multiple colleges for you.
Other obvious factors to consider
- Location, location, location: When you close your eyes and try to imagine yourself in your ideal college environment, what do you see? A bustling city, a small college town with expansive lawns and a slower pace? Or something in between?
- Curriculum and requirements – if you are interested in special programs (engineering, dance, or business), it is important to determine who offers these subjects. Are you interested in a dual degree program (obtain a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree in less time than it would take if the two were pursued separately)?
- Picking a major
- General Education requirements – how does the college organize this?
- Do you want a college with a special affiliation? (Religious, Historically Black College, Women’s college)
- How important is prestige? Be honest!