Things to Consider When Choosing a College

There are many things to consider when selecting a college path. As a student is looking through options, make sure that they consider the topics below. Use the College Evaluation Worksheet to help students compare their choices. 

Campus & Community Personality
What are the other students like? What do they care about? What do they do for fun? Do students compare grades? How do people dress? What’s the prevailing political philosophy? Are there religious groups on campus? Are there sororities and fraternities? Find out if the admissions office is able to put the student in touch with current students or recent graduates in order to discuss campus life and culture. Help students arrange a visit so they can experience the campus atmosphere in person. Students can prepare for a campus visit by thinking about questions they should ask during the visit

Cost is an issue when deciding where to attend college, but students shouldn't automatically cross a college off their list based on cost. Until a student applies for financial aid and receives award letters from their chosen colleges, there is no way to know the specific expected cost of college to the student. Students can use the FAFSA4caster to get an estimate of federal aid that they may receive, and what the feds expect the student to pay out of pocket for a chosen college. Scholarships, grants, and tuition waivers are all ways to help reduce the cost to students;so it is important for students to take the time and make the effort to apply for as many of these opportunities as they can. You can use the College Abacus to compare the net price for the colleges you are considering. This document shows the cost of tuition and fees for public colleges in Oregon.

Geographic Location and Campus Size
Students should evaluate how important it is for them to be close to home. They will ll also want to consider whether they want to live in an urban setting, small-town environment, or on a rural campus. Large schools and small schools have significantly different environments, social experiences, and opportunities for activities. Small schools might offer a more personalized education with smaller class sizes, and students are more likely to be known on campus. Larger schools may have larger teacher/student ratios,but could offer more programs of study and opportunities.

College Profile Tool
It can be tricky to identify schools that will suit a student’s needs and wants for post-secondary education. The following tool recommends some options that might be a good match based on student’s interests and desires.

  • Look at your interests, abilities, and attitudes.
  • Assess your needs and what types of learning environments might work best for you

Getting More Information
One of the best resources is a college’s admissions office website. If the website doesn't contain all of the information you are looking for, you may need to contact the admissions office or a specific department for more information. Many school websites have online forms to fill out, or you can call the office directly to get your questions answered quickly.

College fairs are another great resource because you can obtain information from a variety of colleges in just one trip. Ask your high school counselor if there is a college fair coming to your school or one nearby.