8 Factors to Consider When Choosing a College

About this article
Selecting the right college to attend is a very tough and very important decision. This article includes information on different factors to keep in mind when choosing the best college for you.
View available schools

While high school is tough, college is tougher. One of the first major choices for you as a young adult is your university or junior college; a decision that will affect the next several years of your life. While most students take parental desires, location of friends and university costs into consideration, there are also other equally important factors that should not be overlooked in the decision-making process.

Ideal Environment:

College isn't just a place for intellectual development--it is a place for social and personal development as well. Your level of involvement is an integral part of the experience so you should carefully consider the social aspect of any schools you're considering.

Distance from Home:

For many students, college can be a time of exploration. However, for other students, 'Home' is where the family is. Decide whether you would benefit from a new environment and people with backgrounds different from yours, or if you are more likely to thrive in a secure and familiar setting.

Commitment to Major Field:

Don't choose a college because of its reputation for specific programs unless you're strongly committed to one major. If you're likely to change your mind a few times, choose a school where you can take time to explore all your options.

Curriculum:

Some people perform better and learn more in a college that has a core curriculum or a number of requirements for graduation while others prefer exploring new fields on their own. Will you benefit from a structured curriculum, or do you want to develop new interests in your own time?

Academic Pressure:

More often than not, students fail in college due to the academic pressure--a lack of intellectual ability is rarely the problem. Evaluate carefully what the colleges you are considering expect of their students and how much you want to be pushed. Here's one tip: select a college that has an SAT or ACT average similar to your own to ensure that you are on the same page as the rest of the student body.

What's Important to You:

Do you care more about a college's prestige, its standpoint on religion or its tolerance for a student's personal values? Colleges that blend both values and prestige tend to be either extremely small, extremely selective or both. The best way to assess the school's values is to explore the demographics of the student body. Find out if students volunteer, if the school offers courses in ethics or if the teachers encourage cooperation over competition.

Location:

Do you thrive on the excitement and adventure of the city? Or do you feel more secure in a rural area? Are you a sun-worshipper or do you hide indoors at the first sign of snow? Although your surroundings shouldn't be the deciding factor, they are a definitely important when determining where you'd be the most comfortable.

Institutional Size:

Although some people are adaptive enough to fit in at either a large or small college, most people find that one size will fit their needs better than another. A large college can be exciting, but lonely; a small college can be friendly, yet stifling. If you learn best by listening and observing, a large college might be best for you. Conversely, a small college will offer more hands-on training, but less diversity in curriculum.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
      • MSHS in Molecular Diagnostic Sciences
      • MSHS in Translational Microbiology
      • MSHS Clinical Operations & Healthcare Management
      • MSHS in Clinical Microbiology
    Bachelor's
      • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
      • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences
      • BSHS in Biomedical Informatics
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado Christian University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Criminal Justice, M.S.
      • Business Administration, MBA
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Advanced Accounting
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Health Care Administration
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Leadership
      • Business Administration, MBA - Emphasis in Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • Communication Studies, B.A.
      • Criminal Justice, B.S.
      • Psychology, B.S.
      • Psychology, B.S. - Emphasis in Biblical Studies
    Associate's
      • Criminal Justice, A.S.
      • Psychology, A.S.
      • Communication Studies, A.A.
      • General Studies, A.A.
      • Business Administration, A.S.
      • Health Care Administration, A.S.
  • Campus and Online Programs
    3. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Film Production
      • MS - Game Design (Campus)
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
      • Master of Fine Arts - Creative Writing
      • M.S. - Public Relations
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
      • Bachelor of Science - Software Development
      • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)
      • BS - Creative Writing for Entertainment (Campus)
      • BS - Film (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
    Certificate
      • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Tulane University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
      • Master of Professional Studies in Information Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • Master of Science - DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
    Master's
      • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
      • Master: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology
      • Master : Business Admin
      • Master of Public Health
      • MBA: Human Resources
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BS in Liberal Studies Leadership
      • Bachelor: Nutrition Science
      • Accelerated MS in Finance Option
    Associate's
      • AAS in Legal Support and Services
      • Associate: Criminal Justice
      • AAS in Information Technology - Multiplatform Software Development
      • Associate of Science in Fire Science
      • AAS in Criminal Justice and Criminology
      • AASIT: Network Admin
    Certificate
      • Medical Assisting Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Human Services Certificates in Child and Family Services
      • Graduate Certificate in Addictions
      • Graduate Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
      • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate
  • Campus Locations:
    6. Lincoln Tech

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Collision Repair and Refinishing
      • Automotive Technology
      • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
      • Electrical/Electronics
      • Diesel Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
      • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
      • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Special Education
      • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Cognition and Instruction
      • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    Master's
      • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
      • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • MS in Criminal Justice: Legal Studies
      • MS in Psychology: General Psychology
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Psychology
      • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
      • BS in Early Childhood
      • BS in Elementary Education / Special Education (Dual Major)
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Independence University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Health Administration (MS)
      • Information Systems (MS)
      • Nursing Administration (MS)
      • Nursing Education (MS)
    Bachelor's
      • Accounting (BS)
      • Business Administration (BS)
      • Business Administration - Human Resources Emphasis (BS)
      • Business Administration - Marketing Emphasis (BS)
      • Business Administration - Technology Emphasis (BS)
      • Health Information Management (BS)
    Associate's
      • Business (AAS)
      • Graphic Arts (AAS)
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA: Technology Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management: Entrepreneurial Studies Concentration
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Security Technology Concentration
      • Bachelor: Health Care Management
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • B.S. - Information Technology: Network Management Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
      • Associate: Health Information Management
      • Associate: Healthcare Management
      • Associate of Science - Information Technology Admin and Management
      • Associate of Science - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Diploma: Medical Office Admin
      • Diploma: Medical Assisting
      • Diploma: Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting
      • Networking Systems Certificate

Featured Schools

The George Washington University

  • MSHS Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • MSHS in Immunohematology and Biotechnology
  • BSHS in Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management
  • BSHS in Medical Laboratory Sciences

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Christian University

  • Criminal Justice, M.S.
  • Communication Studies, B.A.
  • Criminal Justice, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Film Production
  • BS - Sportscasting (Campus)
  • Cert - Instructional Design and Technology

What is your highest level of education?

Tulane University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Cybersecurity Management
  • Master of Professional Studies in Information Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Purdue University Global

  • Master of Science - DNP Executive Leader
  • MS in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
  • Bachelor: Liberal Studies
  • AAS in Legal Support and Services
  • Medical Assisting Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

Lincoln Tech

  • Collision Repair and Refinishing
  • Automotive Technology
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

What year did you graduate High School / Receive GED?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

What is your age?