Tips for Finding Your College Match
Characteristics You Should Consider
How can you find colleges that match your needs? First, identify
your priorities. Next, carefully research the characteristics of
a range of schools. Finally, match the two. Here are some
college characteristics you should consider.
Size of the Student Body
Size will affect many of your opportunities and experiences,
- range of academic majors offered
- extracurricular possibilities
- amount of personal attention you'll receive
- number of books in the library
When considering size, be very sure to look beyond the raw
number of students attending. For example, perhaps you're
considering a small department within a large school.
Investigate not just the number of faculty, but also how
accessible faculty members are to students.
Do you want to visit home frequently, or do you see this as a
time to experience a new part of the country? Perhaps you like
an urban environment with access to museums, ethnic food, or
major league ball games. Or maybe you hope for easy access to
the outdoors or the serenity of a small town. Learn more.
If you know what you want to study, research reputations of
academic departments by talking to people in the fields that
interest you. If you're undecided, relax and pick an
academically balanced institution that offers a range of majors
and programs. Most colleges offer counseling to help you find a
In considering academic programs, look for special opportunities
and pick a school that offers many possibilities.
Consider what your college life will be like beyond the
classroom. Aim for a balance between academics, activities, and
social life. Before choosing a college, learn the answers to
- What extracurricular activities, athletics, and special
interest groups are available?
- Does the community around the college offer interesting
outlets for students?
- Are students welcomed by the community?
- Is there an ethnic or religious group in which to take part?
- How do fraternities and sororities influence campus life?
- Is housing guaranteed?
- How are dorms assigned?
Today's college price tag makes cost an important consideration
for most students. At the same time, virtually all colleges work
to ensure that academically qualified students from every
economic circumstance can find financial aid that allows them to
attend. In considering cost, look beyond the price tag.
Explore what you might gain from a diverse student body. Think
about the geographic, ethnic, racial, and religious diversity of
the students as a means of learning more about the world.
Investigate what kinds of student organizations or other groups
with ethnic or religious foundations are active and visible on
Retention and Graduation Rates
One of the best ways to measure a school's quality and the
satisfaction of its students is to learn the percent of students
who return after the first year and the percent of entering
students who remain to graduate. Comparatively good retention
and graduation rates are indicators that responsible academic,
social, and financial support systems exist for most students.
Use College Search to research two-year and four-year schools
and find the programs that meet your needs.
Browse colleges from A to Z with our College Search listings.