Choosing the Right College or University

Choosing a college is an important and an intimidating experience. Read on to learn about the best ways to simplify what can be a stressful and sometimes bewildering decision.

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There are thousands of potential colleges and universities in the United States, but not all are suitable for your educational and career goals. Choosing the closest or most affordable college is not necessarily the best choice. Base your decision on a number of factors, such as: location, cost, offerings, and rank.

Location, Location, Location

Location may be a determining factor if you need to live in a particular area. Consider whether you will feel comfortable in the area, whether friends and family will be close by, and whether the area's culture and recreational possibilities suit your tastes. Some students fear moving too far from home, while others long to travel and experience new things. Either way, location can have a large impact on your final decision, so consider it carefully.


While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest school available to you, it may be a mistake when you consider other factors. If the school to which you apply does not offer a quality program in your major it could take away from your starting salary when you go to find a job after graduation. If you attend a school offering a higher rated program you may pay more in tuition but earn more upon graduating. Don't assume that more expensive schools are necessarily better than those that cost less. Choose the best school available for both your budget and ambitions. Students who are concerned that they will not be able to afford to attend the school of their choice may consider applying for scholarships or financial aid.

Study the Available Data

College guides help to evaluate a college or university based on a number of criteria, such as: location, cost, size, financial aid availability, degree types and majors. These guides can offer you a simple way to compare and contrast the schools which you are considering applying to. Don't rely on information in a college guide to make your final decision, but instead use the information to guide and narrow your search for the right college or university.

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