Six Points to Consider when Selecting a College
Beginning the college search can be overwhelming – does your student decide where they want to spend the next four years? Here are some tips about what to look for to help narrow down the options, without sacrificing your student’s college-shopping experience.
- School Size
How many students are on campus? A large school can feel overwhelming for some, whereas a small school can leave much to be desired. Does your student thrive in larger groups, or prefer smaller class sizes with a more hands-on approach? This could be the first deciding factor when weighing public versus private colleges and universities.
- Student-to-Faculty Ratio
If your student is someone who might need one-on-on assistance, or you just like knowing your professors, smaller class sizes may be better. Depending on the program your student is hoping to go into, both private and public colleges may have options for smaller class settings.
- Freshman Retention Rate
This retention rate measures how many freshmen return for their sophomore year. Retention rate may be something you never considered to look at, but it might help you decide whether your student would ultimately be happy and successful in their first year away.
If your student already had an idea of what program or major they want to explore, be sure to consult with school counselors to know what their school specialties are. If you find out their program isn’t offered, you might want to skip the campus tour. If your student is uncertain, or just want the ability to take fun extra classes, check out colleges that have a more flexible curriculum.
Cold versus hot weather, city versus rural, close versus far from home – these are all factors should be highly considered. The location of your college affects not only the price, but your student’s overall happiness and mental health, so don’t hand-wave it.
- On-Campus Life and Living
How are the extracurriculars – the clubs and the sports? Are dorms available for upperclassmen? Is parking available? How is the Greek life? The social and living aspects are equally important to the academic aspects to ensuring an overall great experience while attending college. Don’t forget to explore these points as well!
Choosing a college shouldn’t be stressful, but doing a little extra leg work in the beginning will help ensure you’ve made the right choice!