When most high school students think about college or university they’re inundated with thoughts of standardized tests, countless essays, and lengthy applications. Although these are realities of applying to college, it’s also important for students to think about what any given college or university has to offer them. Whether students have already received acceptance letters and are making their final decision, or if they are exploring college campuses for the first time, there are essential points to consider.
There are vastly different experiences available to today’s college students. Campus life includes the student’s living experience such as a residence hall or dorm, practical living issues like food options, walkability scores, social life, and distance from their current home. Students who live on or near campus should consider the college’s campus life closely and think about whether or not a particular university offers what they’re really looking for.
Choice of Major
Most of us know somebody who is 100% sure what they were going to major in by their senior year in high school and then changed their mind several times once they arrived on campus. It’s a good idea for students to consider what the major field of study options are and if they’ll have the opportunity to transfer to a different department if they so choose. Having a broad option of majors is also essential for students who are entering a university ‘undeclared’.
Alternative Learning Options
The last decade or so has seen a huge change in the options a student has to complete their coursework. The majority of classes will still take place on campus in a lecture hall or standard classroom environment, however most universities now offer some sort of hybrid learning or distance education format as well. This can be beneficial for students who are going to be commuting to campus or who are working part-time. If alternative learning options are important to a student they should investigate this before making their final college choice.
A college education can vary greatly in its financial cost. Students who study in state and receive financial aid or scholarships may leave university with little to no debt. Alternatively, some universities charge substantial tuition, leaving students with an important choice to make. Affordability doesn’t end at tuition, students should also take into account if there are scholarships or grants available to them, as well as the cost of living in the region the college is located. Students are encouraged to compare on-campus versus off-campus versus commuting cost of living options.