College education determines the path you want your life to take in the near future. It is the first, most important decision you have to make after high school. It is the initiation into an independent life. Although your parents would provide you some support, the rest of it depends on you. These are factors that you have to consider for choosing the best college for you:
- Location. Think of where you grew up and what kind of locale you are used to. Urban-bred students might not mix well in the quiet suburbs. However, since college is all about independence, determine how much change you can handle. Think also about how likely you'll miss your family and how much time and money you can afford to travel back home. If phone lines and emails will suffice, distance will not matter.
- Size. Think of how many people can enroll in that particular college. More people mean more interactions. However, some colleges cater only to a selected few. Determine whether students live in campuses or commute, their average age as well the diversity of their ethnic backgrounds. If you intend to live within the campus, look for the availability of student housing and if it will suit your budget and taste.
- Type. Determine the admission requirements and deadline given by the college to see if it is compatible with your schedule. Determine what GPA and average test scores you need to qualify as their student. Certain colleges are gender specific, either they're co-ed or single sex. Some have specific religious affiliations. Others are either privately funded or state provided.
- Academics. Some colleges focus on research, while others focus on teaching or the Humanities. Others are famous for giving their students a broad education, while some are experts in certain fields of technology. Be certain that the college you go to will be able to prepare you well for your chosen profession. Go to colleges that will give you the edge. Some colleges have special requirements.
- Extra-curricular. Some schools are focused on sports events and would offer scholarships just to get the best talent there is. Socially interactive events are usually created by school clubs, so look into that too. Some colleges have programs that further enrich the learning experience outside the classroom. This may be in the form of an exchange program or an internship outside your chosen major.
- College expenses. Not all colleges cost the same. State funded institutions provide lower rates for homegrown students, but private schools provide scholarships that are worth looking into. Ask about financial aid provided to their students.
Before you apply to a college, think about these factors that could affect you in the long term. You would have to compare each of them, because the overall atmosphere that the campus provides plays a major part in the imminent achievement of your dream degree. Think not just about the prestige of the institution but how you would fit in its culture.