Large schools might have lots of opportunities, especially with extracurricular activities, but it also means less individual attention from professors.
In a smaller school, professors will generally know everyone in the class. On a larger campus, you can fade into the background if you don’t make a significant effort. It’s important to figure out your priorities and figure out which school size is right for you.
Also consider the fact that it will be a shock if you go from a small high school to a large college and vice versa.
2. Distance from home
If you want to be able to go home for a weekend when you’re sick or there’s something going on in your hometown, then you might want to limit your search to places within two hours of home. This can also make moving less complicated.
But there are some advantages to going to a college that’s a little farther away. You can make connections in an area you plan on moving to, which is very important for finding jobs. You also have more of an opportunity to be independent because you can’t depend on your family for everything.
Moving farther away from home can put a lot of pressure on you, so think carefully before deciding how far away you want to move.
Not every college puts the same emphasis on all of its programs. If you want to go to college for creative writing, it would be better to apply to a college that gives significant resources to its creative writing program, rather than a college that is known for its STEM classes but also happens to have a creative writing program as well because that program is likely to be underfunded and understaffed.
Try to get to know some of the professors since you’ll be spending a lot of time in their classrooms. This will give you a good idea of the academic culture of the college as well. If you and the professors are on the same wavelength, chances are, the school is a good fit. But if many of the professors you talk to make you dread their classes, you might want to check out other colleges.
5. Reviews from other students
Don’t only trust the college’s advertising and student ambassadors. Their job is to sell you the best image of the college and they often gloss over major problems such as safety concerns, toxic professors or administrators, or poor dorm living conditions.
That’s not to say that every college has a major dark side, but no place is perfect. Check social media for mentions of the colleges you’re interested in and see what students are talking about. Then decide if the imperfections are something you can tolerate.
Don’t take college for granted. You are investing a lot of money in yourself and your future. Make sure you choose a place that will help you grow and open the doors you want to walk through.