There is no one answer as to what makes a college the best choice for you. The ideal college environment will satisfy both your individual needs and desires. There are, however, several common factors that should be considered to make an informed decision, according to freelance writer Victor Restis:
Will you benefit from living on or off-campus? What other options are available to you? Will you be near or far from home? What types of opportunities exist for students in your desired location? These are all questions you need to answer when choosing a college.
Will you feel lost in a sea of thousands, or will the intimate environment provide the perfect setting for study and socialization, according to Restis? The ideal environment is similar to that of your high school experience, with enough people around to not feel isolated yet small enough where everyone can know each other.
More attention and guidance may be available at a college with a smaller faculty-to-student ratio. Still, this factor often relies on other factors such as class size and campus size. You also need to consider whether or not you can get the attention you deserve from an overworked faculty member, especially if they are frequently employed in research instead of teaching.
The broader your academic experience, the more prepared you will be for a career post-college. Diversity on campus may provide you with the opportunity to expand your horizons and broaden your perspective of life.
You want a big enough class so that there is plenty of competition for grades but small enough to interact with professors and peers often. It should also provide ample opportunity to conduct research in laboratories or work on extracurricular projects about topics of interest.
It’s not all about academics; you want a place where there are plenty of opportunities beyond the classroom where you can get involved and make an impact without doing it from behind a computer, such as charity events, professional workshops, community theatre, and other projects that might interest you.
It’s a popular pastime that can be either an exciting addition to the college experience or a cause for frustration. If you don’t enjoy basketball, football, soccer, etc., it could become hard to fit in socially and academically if your college is obsessed with its sports teams. However, attending a school with a good team has plenty of perks and provides local entertainment, and creates a sense of school pride.
What type of degree are you pursuing? Will you have access to the necessary equipment and resources to complete this program? Is there financial aid available for students who qualify? What kind of opportunities exists outside the classroom? These are important questions that should be answered before committing to college.
Personal safety and security
You want to ensure that your personal belongings, and especially your physical self, are safe and secure while you’re on campus. A great school will have 24-hour monitoring and the appropriate staff in place to assist if necessary.