Planning for college is an exciting yet stressful experience, especially when it comes to making that big decision: Where will you attend school? Fear not! The college decision is nothing to worry about, but there are a few important things for you to consider when selecting a college.
It can be tough to make a decision of this magnitude, so it’s worthwhile to be patient; really work through your options and seek out additional advice from teachers, mentors, and those who best understand your wants, needs and long-term goals.
Here at Wells Fargo, we’re dedicated to helping you on the path toward educational success so we put together the following guide of things to consider in your college decision process:
School size, type and campus life
There’s no shortage of amazing schools out there, so after you’ve studied hard throughout high school you deserve to attend a university that fits your future needs. Colleges come in all shapes and sizes; it all comes down to what’s best for your personal growth and success.
If you’re looking for a big campus with exciting sports teams and large events, a more populated university would fit you well. If this is the case you may want to consider a Division 1 school. If school size and athletic camaraderie are not important to you, attending a smaller school such as a private university or liberal arts college will offer you a more enhanced classroom experience.
The school size and type will give you a better understanding of campus life. Although plenty of your hours will be spent in the classroom and library, it’s important to choose a university that provides exciting events, organizations and activities that help you foster new relationships and have some fun. Look for a college that offers club sports, volunteer opportunities and activities that allow you to engage with your professors, faculty and fellow students.
Location & distance from home
Whether you’re a city-slicker or a little more country, the most exciting part about college is the capacity to choose your own future. If you’re looking for a college surrounded by sky-scrapers and constant excitement, consider big college cities like NYC, Chicago, Boston or Philadelphia. If you enjoy the sand beneath your toes and a study-session on the beach, set your sights on a university that’s a mere stone’s throw away from the ocean. The location you choose for your college should mirror the activities you enjoy and the type of person you are. (One caveat here: you are selecting a college, so make sure that you pick somewhere that you enjoy, but where you will also be able to focus on your studies!)
Closely tied to the location of your ideal university is the aspect of how far from home you want to be. For many people, college is the chance to discover a totally different part of the country—or even the world—but for others the proximity of family is important. Figure out just how far you want to venture away from home and what parts of the country most interest you. The most important thing is that you spend your four years immersed within an environment that makes you happy about your decision and driven to succeed.
Costs, scholarships & financial aid
This is the factor that tends to limit many students from attending their dream school, yet cost and financial aid opportunities are often a crucial aspect of college decision-making. Cost is often the first thing that parents think about when the topic of college comes up, and it can heavily influence the application and decision-making process. Survey the schools on your list and be sure to eliminate those that don’t meet your educational budget. Depending on the type of school, you may have the capacity to apply for scholarships, grants, financial aid, loans and more.
Public universities and in-state schools often offer much lower tuition and room and board, whereas private institutions often charge higher tuition rates and sometimes limit scholarship and financing opportunities for those needing financial assistance. This aspect of the college decision process might best be worked through with your parents or guardians, to ensure that you avoid unnecessary student debt and receive the best educational experience possible.