There are many things to look for when choosing your "home" for the next four years. Here are a few of the most important things to consider, before making one of the biggest decisions in your life thus far!
COST. You need to consider your annual cost of attendance. This will include such things as tuition, fees, room and board, books, travel, and other school necessities. However, you should not rule out a school just because it may be a little out of your initial price range. You need to take into consideration if you are eligible for grants, any scholarships, work study, and low interest student loans.
LOCATION. How far away are you ready to move? Some students have no problem moving across the country, others before a reasonable distance to get the college experience but still have fairly easy access to home, and others simply prefer to stay at home. The further you go, remember this is going to increase your costs (travel and more than likely out of state tuition rates).You also need to consider whether you want to attend school in a big city, a small town, a big college town, etc. Don't take this decision lightly.
DORM LIFE OR COMMUTER LIFE. There are many options to consider for student housing. Are you going to live in a dorm room, off campus apartment, or at home (provided you are attending school nearby)? Again, you need to weigh the costs. But this time you also need to consider how independent you want (or are ready) to be.
SIZE. Small, individualized classrooms or large lecture halls? Big city, small town, or a predominantly college town? There are many options to consider. If you are not sure, try visiting different types of campuses or talk to older friends or siblings about their experiences.
What type of academic program are you looking for? Make sure a school you are considering offers your major or possible majors you are considering. If know exactly what you want to do, check out a potential school's reputation in that field.
FLEXIBILITY. This is especially important for those of you who are going to be working full time while attending college. Does your school offer part-time, online, or evening courses? If you want to get ahead, do they offer summer sessions?
SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES. Depending upon importance to you, of course! Check out school's athletic programs, intramurals, and other extracurricular activities. Are you looking for Greek life, honor societies, a school with a golf team, excellent swimming program, etc? The possibilities are endless. Remember, it is okay to have some fun and get involved in activities you enjoy!