August 25, 2013

Choosing A College

What to look for when you visit or read about a college

 The Campus:

  • Does the location appeal to you? The weather?
  • How far is it from home?
  • How easy is it to travel to and from the school? Is it near an airport, train or bus station?
  • What percentage of the student population lives on campus?  What are the housing options? (single sex, no smoking, multi-cultural, drug free, quiet)
  • Do you feel that you would be comfortable on the campus?
  • Physical plant: What do you think of the architecture, age and accessibility of the buildings, the size and comfort level of the dorms, and the facilities (library, gym, fields, other athletic facilities, research, music, theatre – Check for your particular interests)
  • Is there adequate psychological counseling and medical attention?
  • What are the options for food on and off campus?  Is there a meal plan?  Is food available 24 hours?
  • If you have religious or dietary needs, will they be fulfilled on campus?
  • Where are the laundry facilities?

The Policies and Atmosphere:

  • What is the school’s mission or philosophy? 
  • Does the school have an honor code?
  • What is the atmosphere of the college?  (Artsy, spirited, sports-oriented, politically active?)
  • Does the school have a reputation (Dry or wet campus, social, studious, party, drugs?)
  • Are there fraternities and sororities?  How important are they on campus? Do they have their own houses? What are their reputations?

 The People:

  • Were you able to meet with an admissions officer or professor in your field of interest?  Were they helpful?
  • Were the students that you met friendly and helpful?
  • What is the student population?  If diversity or homogeneity is important to you, will it fulfill your needs?
  • If you are an athlete, did you have an opportunity to talk to the coach, meet any team members, or learn about the tryout policies?

  The Academics:

  • Is your course of study available and strong at this school?
  • If you plan to do research or be involved in music, theatre, or specific academic activities, will you be able to do so easily at the school?
  • What are the class sizes?
  • What is the academic atmosphere?  (High pressure, rigorous, low key, etc.?)
  • Are the professors accessible for questions or extra help?
  • Are tutorials available?
  • Are there resources for writing help?
  • If you need special services, have you checked to see if you will be accommodated?


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