How Do I Select Colleges that Are Right for Me?

Selecting colleges to apply to is an important decision, but it doesn't have to be a hard one. This article gives some advice on choosing colleges that are right for you.

Overview for Selecting Colleges

While selecting a college may seem stressful to some people, it can be made easier through a number of carefully planned approaches. Organizing your search based on select criteria can take some of the guesswork out of the process. The following tips can help you choose colleges that are best for you:

  • Look for appealing academic programs
  • Decide on a geographic location
  • Acknowledge the size of the student body
  • Consider the costs of schools

Important Information About Selecting Colleges

Prerequisites Undergraduate programs typically require you to have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Online Availability Many schools offer fully or partially available online programs.
Financial Aid Grants, scholarships, and loans are widely available.
Programs A broad range of programs are available in the liberal arts, sciences, business, and professional (vocational) fields.

Look for Colleges with Appealing Academic Programs

Selecting colleges that have suitable academic programs is vital. If you have at least a rough idea of what you want to study, look for colleges that offer strong programs on subjects of interest. You may also want to consult some publications and websites that provide rankings of colleges based on academic programs. One such publication is U.S. News and World Report.

Choose a Suitable Geographic Location

When selecting colleges, it's important to look for schools in favorable locations. You may consider whether you want to attend college close to home or far away, what region you want to attend school in and whether you prefer a rural, urban or suburban environment. Also, when choosing a location, consider how the region will impact your studies. For example, programs in marine biology are typically located on coasts.

Select Colleges with Properly Sized Student Bodies

The number of students who make up a school's populace is another factor to consider. Some students are more comfortable at colleges with smaller class sizes and fewer students. Others prefer the social opportunities found at colleges with large student bodies.

Research the Cost of Attendance

When choosing colleges, you need to pay attention to the cost of attending various schools. Think about the availability of funding resources like student loans, grants and scholarships. Consider the types and amounts of aid you're likely to be eligible for and whether or not these funds will be enough to cover your needs. Even if you don't think you can afford a particular college, you can still apply, but it's probably a good idea to make sure you have some more affordable options on your list as well.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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