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Top 10 Traits You Will Want for a College

By Edited Feb 17, 2016 1 2

While you know all about how colleges look for the best and brightest students, and you know all about the schools that looks best on a resume, but do you know which college is best for you? Before you go and spend thousands of dollars on a college you may completely hate to attend you should look at this list and keep it in mind when choosing your school. One size does not fit all when it comes to colleges and so we need to find the right fit for you.

1. Size

Size plays a very important factor when choosing your college. Everyone learns and are comfortable in different environments. While some people like the feeling of "being in the crowd" others may like the solitude of studying and learning with a handful of other students. Decide if you like being at school where everyone knows your name, or if you want to be at a school where you're just another student?

2. Type

No two colleges are the same. Some can have large graduate focused on the upperclassmen with large research budgets where others are designed primarily for their undergraduate program. A school based around their undergraduates will spend a lot more time and money teaching you and preparing you for your future careers whereas graduate focused colleges will largely leave their underclassmen out to fend for themselves. Other features of colleges could be a focus on a particular field or study (like computer science or graphic design) where all the students share they same interest and end-goal or schools that are single sex, religiously affiliated, or public/private. Every school truly is different so look for the school whose interests fit your interests.

3. Location

Colleges and be found anywhere and everywhere from tiny towns with tons of scenery and nature to large colleges based in the heart of urban life. Do you like to hustle bustle of the city where everyone is busy and there is tons of noise? Or do you prefer quiet, open spaces and grassy fields? Well if one of those questions sounds more appealing to you, you should look for a college that has that location.

4. Distance from Home

How far is that college you were thinking about from home? Is it far away? If it is far, how will you cope without your parents? Some people love the idea to be out on their own and free to be on their own but once they actually move away they discover how much of home they actually miss. Will you be able to afford traveling back home to visit your parents if you're halfway across the country? So distance from your home is a major factor because you can't let getting homesick affect your studies and your grades.

5. Cost/Scholarships and Aid

Obviously one major factor when choosing a college is can you afford paying for tuition? Do you have the grades from high school to score yourself a great scholarship? You may not be too worried now about the money, but if you get a student loan, are you going to be willing to spend years paying it off? Some loans can literally be $200 - $700 a month to pay back. Luckily if you don't have good grades a lot colleges have other methods to lower your tuition besides academic scholarships. Different colleges could have different scholarships they can give you based on programs/clubs you've been in, talents like music or even athletics. Public universities usually have low tuition costs to local in-state residents whereas private colleges have high tuition costs no matter where you're from. Read this list for ways to save money on supplies.

6. The Student Body

Every college has a different make-up for their student body. Some schools based in large cities usually have a large, diverse student body that has a wide range of ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Smaller schools tend to have a student population that have the relatively same demographic portfolio. Other things you'll want to consider is the age of the students attending the school, how many students live on campus or commute, and what clubs/societies those students are part of.

7. Majors Available and Requirements

If you know what major you're planning to do in college, you're going to want to be sure to pick a college that will properly prepare you for your career. Some schools are known for their technology programs where other schools are known for their theater. If you attend a college that is known for what you're planning to study, you'll be much farther ahead in the business-world than a student who went to school that wasn't as good in their field. Also, when you go to a school that's tuned to your field of study, you're much more likely to find a recruiter that could get a job before you even finish taking off your graduation cap. If you're going to be going to college as a freshman, you're also going to want to figure out what requirements you need to complete in order to get your 2 or 4 year degree. Some schools focus on a well-rounded education which could possibly slow your graduation progress where others have specific "turbo-charged" programs that focus on getting your degree as fast as possible.

8. Sports and Other Events

Do you love being in a stadium with other screaming fans? Do you love the sound of the marching band, chanting, and the cheering students? If you do then another trait you're going to want is a school with a great athletic program. Some schools have extremely good football, basketball, and baseball teams that win every year and some schools don't. Some schools have tons of school spirit where students put on war paint before every game and they sell-out the stadium where other schools have a relatively lack-luster student body who don't go to their games. The same for sports can be said about the college's other events and programs too. Some colleges have a lot of events, clubs, games, parties for their students to go to where other colleges don't have any of those things.

9. Special Programs

Did you ever fantasize about going to another country and being a foreign exchange student? Well some colleges have programs precisely for that. You can earn full credits in such a program plus you get a chance to learn new languages, experiencing new cultures, and making new friends. Every college is different and colleges usually have a different focus, some focus just a teaching and getting students degrees where others throw extravagant theater festivals where people travel from hundreds of miles away to see the plays and musicals they put on.

10. Do What You Feel is Right

No matter what anyone else says, you should do what you think is right. Just because your uncle says one school is amazing and that he loved it does not mean that you'll like it too. Everyone is different just like every college is different. Once you've properly researched all the colleges and found one that fits your personality and goals, and you feel its the best choice, go there! No one should stop you or change your mind on what can be the most important experience of your life.


Jan 9, 2010 8:32am
Finding the right college is difficult and this can surely help.
Nov 18, 2011 11:38pm
Choosing the right school is really important. Figuring out what program and how fast you can get it done is important too.
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