Choosing the Right College

Updated on Thu, 06/23/2016 - 2:03pm

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a college. To get you started, think about the following factors and select five that are important to you. 

  • Location

    • Distance from home

  • Environment

    • Type of school (technical, 2- or 4-year)

    • School setting (urban, suburban, rural)

    • Location and size of nearest city

    • Religious Affiliations

    • Co-ed, male, female

  • Size
    • Size of Campus

    • Total Enrollment

  • Admission Requirements​

    • Average GPA, test scores, rank

    • Special requirements - interview, performance, portfolio

    • Tests required
  • Academics​

    • Majors offered

    • Accreditation -- is it recognized by regional or national accrediting bodies

    • Student to Faculty ratio

    • Average class size
  • College Expenses​

    • Cost of tuition, room and board

    • Total budget

    • Application fees, required deposits
  • Financial Aid​

    • Deadlines

    • Required fees

    • Scholarships

    • Employment/Work-Study opportunities

    • % of students receiving aid
  • Housing​

    • Availability

    • Residence hall requirements

    • Types of housing available -- traditional dorms, apartments,

    • Food plans

  • Facilities​

    • Academic

    • Recreational

    • Other
  • Activities​

    • Clubs and organizations

    • Greek life -- sororities and fraternities

    • Athletics, intramurals

Now that you’ve made your list, it’s time to search! The following links will provide you with unbiased recommendations based on your search criteria.

For general search of all colleges based on your selected criteria, visit SuperMatch™ college search in Naviance.

Cappex is a great site for comparing schools, calculating admissions chances, calculating financial aid, and just figuring out if a school is a good match for you in general. Plus you can read actual student reviews!

Chegg is a college matchmaker! Create a profile and save colleges to your list. You can also see “grades” from actual students on different areas such as: academics, campus dining, and diversity.

Do you like data? College Insight offers a wealth of data from each school and allows you to compare schools side-by-side.

College Guide for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported the following about college students:
    • 30% struggle with school work due to mental illness
    • 25% experience suicidal thoughts
    • 14% engage in reckless behavior

Campus Visits

Campus visits are an excellent opportunity to really get a feel for campus life. College Board and Princeton Review are great resources and offer suggestions for visiting campus.

While visiting in person is always preferred, it is not always possible. Here are some wonderful websites to take you on a virtual tour of college campuses.