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Questions to Ask When Choosing a College

Answering these questions may help you start thinking about the kind of school you'd like to attend. This is just a "starter list" — add or delete questions.

General

Why am I going to college?

What do I want to get out of my college experience?

What do I want to do when I finish my degree?

Where do I see myself in 10 years?

What is influencing my decision in choosing a school and/or career?

What I want for my future?

What my parents/friends want for my future?

What do I want to accomplish with my life?

Academics

What areas of study am I interested in?

How much time and effort do I want to put into my studies?

Would I do better in a more self-directed program or one with more guidance and supervision?

What kind of environment would best work for my value system, political attitudes and personality?

Cost

What factors will determine where I go to school (i.e., finances, curriculum programs, preferences, location)?

Beyond what my parents and scholarships are able to provide, how much can I afford to invest in my education?

Where will this additional money come from?

  • Part-time employment?
  • Student loans?
  • Grants?

What school(s) would I attend (and why):

  • If I had a full scholarship?
  • If I had pay some or all of the tuition?

What schools on my list would I attend only with a full scholarship?

WHN Tip: For more information about college expenses, go to College Planning – Saving, Financial Aid and Catching Up or go to SmartAbout Money's resource page for downloadable materials,

Social Life

Do I want to meet new people or go to the same school my friends are attending?

Do I want the school to have a small intimate environment or be large and impersonal?

Which extracurricular and/or social activities am I interested in pursuing while at college?

  • Do I want to join a fraternity or sorority?
  • Do I want to play intramural sports?

Do I want to go to a school known for its sports teams?

Location

What is my preference regarding the school's geographic location? Do I prefer

  • Oceans or mountains
  • Northern climates or southern heat?

What is my preference regarding the lifestyle of the location? Do I prefer

  • A big city, small town or rural environment?
  • A college town with lots of activities or a quieter location?

Would I rather be within a reasonable driving distance of my home or be further away from friends or family?

Will I bring my own vehicle (car, motorcycle and/or bike) or will I need to rely on public transportation?

Other Preferences

What type of political and philosophical atmosphere am I looking for?

Would I be more comfortable in a conservative or liberal school?

Would I prefer a single-sex or co-ed school?

Would I prefer a substance-free campus?

Would I prefer a single-sex or substance-free dorm?

Does it matter if the school is public or private?

Do I want a religiously affiliated school?

What are the "must-have" qualities I'm looking for in a school?

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 Read More
Visiting a College Questions to Ask

Here is a "starter list" of questions to ask when you visit or talk with a college. Feel free to omit or add questions of your own to the list.

 Read More
Wallet Theft at College — What I Learned

School is about learning — and in this article, I'll share what I learned after having my wallet stolen!

 Read More