PETAP Blog

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Your University

June 1, 2013 ·


Applying to college is a hectic process. You’re usually busy trying to finish up your senior year of high school, swamped with senior projects and finals … and then you have fill out college apps, take SAT and ACT tests, file FAFSA applications, visit campuses, and make that one big choice.

 

It’s a lot to have to handle, so it’s easy for even the best students to get overwhelmed and feel lost during the process. In all that chaos, everyone can use a little guidance.

 

Here are ten questions every student should ask as you try to pick that perfect school:

 

1. Where do you want to live?

 

A lot of applicants don’t realize it at first, but choosing a college means deciding where you wish to live in the world, at least for the next few years. That can be a big factor in choosing a school, because it’s often one of the benefits (or occasionally, a drawback) of the school. Picking a college close to home has different advantages from going to one far away, especially in a large city.

 

2. Does this school offer the right majors, minors, and mix of courses for me?

 

Students should only apply to the schools that best fit their needs, not just the ones they think they should apply to. Choosing a major and finding the best schools that offer courses in that area is typically one of the biggest hurdles in the entire decision-making process.

 

Remember, too, that many students change their areas of studies as they try new things and take different courses, so you might want a school with plenty of other options as well.

 

3. What are the campus and student body like?

 

If you’re going to spend the next four years of your life on this campus, with these particular students, then you’d better like it there.

 

4. What is housing like on campus?

 

Most schools require first-year students to live on campus; others may stipulate that students have to live on campus the first two years. Part of the application process may involve deciding where you could live next year and the years that follow.

 

5. Would you want to travel abroad?

 

If spending time abroad is something you might want to do, you should look into the programs the school offers and include that in your decision process.

 

6. How much financial aid is the school offering?

 

This can be a deal breaker. Taking on student loans is a huge responsibility that will affect your life for many years. You might find yourself heading to a school that wasn’t your top choice because it’s offering more money.

 

7. Is paying for out-of-state tuition worth it?

 

If you can afford it, going to school out of state can be a great experience but keep in mind the cost of traveling to visit home. Many students will choose to save money and stay in their home state, closer to home.

 

8. Does the school accept transfer credits from high school?

 

Colleges will accept credits from AP tests pretty readily, but many high school students get other college credits from advanced courses at their high school. To find out whether or not a university will accept them, and how they will transfer, you’ll have to contact the college directly, either by phone or email.

 

9. What do other students say?

 

Every college sounds great on their website. Sometimes the most valuable information is from your peers: current or past students who experienced the school first-hand, or simply other students who have gone through the application process.

 

10. Will you be happy there?

 

In the end, the college you choose should cater to your needs the best. It’s terribly difficult for a student to do well in school if he or she is really there for someone else.

 

College is about pursuing your own interests and finding out who you are. The question shouldn’t just be “which college will get me the best job?” but “which college will help me become a better, happier person?”

 

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