How to decide on a college
If you have been searching for colleges for a while, have applied to a handful, and have been accepted to more than one, you’re probably now facing one of the biggest decisions of your life. It’s time to decide on a college.
Download our College Decision Worksheet to help you evaluate and rank your options.
Factors to consider in your college decision
What does campus feel like?
When you visit, pay attention to what you feel on campus—does it seem like a positive campus community? Does the student body feel too large? Too small? Consider everything from the college campus buildings to your interactions with students and staff. These are the people that you could be experiencing your daily college life around. Choose a college with an environment that helps you to feel comfortable as you transition.
What is the financial aid package?
Award packages look different at every school. Each university will list tuition, fees, and aid awards in different orders and formats, and it can be confusing to sort through. Don’t hesitate to contact financial aid staff to talk through your tuition, fees, and aid, in order to get a solid understanding of what your “out of pocket” cost will actually be.
As you decide on a college, take time to walk through the whole financial aid process with each school that you’re considering. This will give you the full picture of what it costs to attend.
Do they have the programs I want?
You might be looking to earn a business degree, a worship leader degree or even a degree in computer science. Check the list of majors on your top college’s websites to be sure that they have the program that will lead to your desired career after graduation.
Throughout your college journey, there is a possibility that you may change your major, so don’t hesitate to look for multiple majors of interest at each of the universities that you are considering.
In addition to your academic programs, your college experience will be filled with extracurricular activities. As you decide on a college, keep your eyes out for solid and growing athletic programs with invested coaches, and for choirs and ensembles that make music that resonates with you.
What are the faculty like?
College faculty are much more than just your teachers. They will be your mentors. Take the time to meet at least one faculty member in the area that you’re hoping to study. You can ask questions about classes that you will take, the types of jobs that graduates are landing, and even what the homework load is like!
What is the spiritual climate?
Maybe you’ve narrowed your search to an Assemblies of God university, or maybe you’re still considering a secular state school. Either way, evaluate the spiritual climate of the universities that you visit.
Things to consider when evaluating the spiritual climate:
- Chapel services
- Theological beliefs of the university as a whole
- Spiritual growth opportunities
- Mentorship with faculty, staff, and/or upperclassmen
- Faith in the classroom
Also, don’t forget to pray for God’s guidance on your decision!
Break it down
There’s nothing quite like a good pros and cons list.
Put your thoughts on paper as you decide on a college. While there are many emotions involved with your decision process, it can be helpful to break things down as you evaluate different aspects of each university.
Not sure where to start? Download our free College Decision Worksheet to help guide you through your decision.