Consider the characteristics

When considering a college, look at the different characteristics:

  • Type of school (public vs. private, 4-year vs. 2-year, etc.)
  • Graduation and retention rates
  • School and class size
  • Location (urban, suburban, small town, or rural)
  • Distance from home
  • Religious affiliation
  • Ethnic composition
  • Single gender or coed
  • Majors
  • Degrees offered
  • Facilities
  • Campus environment
  • Housing
  • Academic rigor (how challenging the classes are)
  • Social activities and clubs
  • Faculty
  • Admission criteria
  • Athletics
  • Cost
  • Financial aid

Decide which characteristics are most important to you. Maybe it's important to stay close to home, which will narrow your search. Maybe you have a very specific area of interest and you only want colleges that specialize in that field. Perhaps you want a large school whose strength lies in its diversity.

The choice is yours. Pick the five to ten characteristics you consider very important in your search for a school, and then start gathering information about your options.