• Finding a College
     
          Where do you begin to find the college that is right for you? The process starts with self-knowledge. Review the information below and complete the exercise on What Really Matters to You. By considering the characteristics listed in the exercise, you will identify and clarify what you value in college location and atmosphere. You will be able to articulate your priorities or discover areas where you could do more research before you commit to one type of school. As is often the case in self-analysis, there is no one answer to a question. Be assured you may change your mind about the atmosphere, level of competitiveness, and ideal location several times before you make a final selection.
     
    Factors to Consider in Evaluating Colleges 
       

    ACADEMIC:

     

        Type of College: public, private; religious affiliation; 2-year, 4-year; university with graduate programs, liberal arts college; specialized college (e.g., art, music, military, architecture, engineering, vocational), etc.

     

        Admissions Selectivity: percentage of applicants offered admission both in general and specifically for early decision; freshman class profile; range of GPAs and standardized test scores

     

        Intellectual Atmosphere: student attitude toward learning; flexibility/structure for study; exchange of ideas; interest in political, social or world issues

     

      Curriculum: majors; interdisciplinary courses; strength of departments; pre-professional training;  course requirements for admissions; courses required for graduation

     

        Faculty: academic background of the faculty; student/faculty ratio; accessibility of faculty to students; teaching or research orientation of the faculty; use of graduate students as instructors

     

       Academic Assistance and Support Services: type of academic advising; sensitivity to the needs and concerns of students; remedial support; tutoring (peer and/or professional); LD programs; ENL support; internships; study abroad; cooperative work/study plans; honors program; design your own major

     

        College Calendar: semester (two terms); trimester (three terms); 4-1-4 (one term in the middle of year, usually for one  month); other variations

     

       Career Preparation: pre-professional programs and advisement; placement of students in graduate programs; career advising and information; percentage who enter graduate school and jobs

     
     
     

     CAMPUS AND STUDENT LIFE:

     

     

    •  Student Body: size; male/female ratio; diversity and acceptance of differences; profile of student body, geographic, cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, academic, socioeconomic background of students; percentage of students who return after freshman year; percentage of students who graduate in four years/in more than four years

    •  Facilities: coed/single sex dorms; alternative residence options; dining facilities; eating plan options; campus appearance, maintenance; library; computer facilities; health services,  counseling  services;  student  center;  bookstore;  laboratories; art/music studios; accessibility of facilities

    •  Community: location; proximity to home and to a nearest city; accessibility by car, train, bus, plane; urban, suburban, rural environment; campus/community relationship; accessibility of community resources; cultural and recreational opportunities

    •  Campus Activities: diversity and level of participation in activities: social, cultural, athletic, recreational, departmental, musical, dramatic; sorority/fraternity life; clubs and organizations; weekday and weekend activities; volunteer and service programs

     

      COLLEGE COST:

     

    • Impact on Admission: is the school need blind or need aware and until what point in the admission process does that policy hold; does the school meet 100% of demonstrated need; will the school accept/deny, meaning will they offer admission but deny aid
    • Cost: what are the minimum-maximum costs per year including tuition and fees, room and board, personal expenses, travel costs
    •  Financial Aid and Scholarships: is aid based on need or merit or both; what is the range of awards, average award, percentage of  students who receive aid; what are the application procedures
    •  How Aid is Packaged: what percentage of the financial aid package is grant, loan and/or work study

     

     
     
     WHAT REALLY MATTERS TO YOU?

     

     

         What really matters to you influences your choice of a school. Identifying and clarifying some of these factors will help you understand the important characteristics in your choice.

     

    Directions: Read each statement below and circle the appropriate number: 1=very important2=somewhat important, 3=not important, 4=not sure

     

    HOW MUCH DOES IT MATTER THAT THE SCHOOL: 

     

    Is strictly a four-year college?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Is located in or near a small town?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Is located near scenic beauty?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Is located close to home?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Is located in or near a large city?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Is well known?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Is highly selective?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Is coed?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Is one where friends are going?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Has small classes?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Has an academic support system?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Has a core curriculum?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Has an active campus social life?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Offers intramural athletics?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Has numerous clubs/groups?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Has sororities and fraternities?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Is academically rigorous?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Offers internships?

    1

    2

    3

    4

    Offers study abroad?

    1

    2

    3

    4

     

         

     
         Note the number of “1's you circled. These characteristics appear to be most important to you. Even though it may not be possible to find everything that is very important to you on one campus, these are factors to keep in mind as you pursue your college search.  You should discuss these factors and the patterns that emerge with your dean and with your family. You can find similar, but more extensive surveys on Naviance as well as on the College Board website.