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5 Important Questions To Ask When You’re Choosing What College To Go To

Congratulations! You've been accepted into multiple schools so great that you're having trouble deciding between them! Choosing what college or university you are going to attend is one of the most difficult decisions you will make, and understandably so. There are so many factors that go into one school, and there are so many items on your personal checklist that you'd want your next home to have. Here are a couple of questions that can help guide your decision-making process and hopefully make the picture just a little clearer:

is the program the best fit for You?

You want the school that you choose to have the major you want to pursue, and on top of that, you want it to have the best program for you. A program is more than a major. It's scholarships, classes, specializations, minors, capstone projects, research, honors classes and whatever else in your academic path you may be considering.

Finances are a difficult topic, especially when it comes to a major commitment like college, but it's important to examine a school's financial viability first and foremost. Will you be getting the most "bang for your buck" at this school, or did one offer you a substantial scholarship while another did not? After these, you can start getting into questions like: is there a certain professor you would really like to work with, or does it come with honors perks you're interested in? Anything about an academic program that excites you is worth making note of.

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are there good networking resources?

What happens outside of the classroom and beyond college heavily relies on networking. Your classes, GPA and extracurriculars will help you fill your resumé, but networking resources are what get your resumé out there and read. It just helps if the college you end up choosing can not only help you in the classroom but can also land you a career in the field you want to go into. This means a strong alumni network and ways to get in contact with them, professional development events, a responsive career advising center and regular career fairs.

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is the school pushing your comfort zone enough?

The school you choose should be a place you can thrive in, but thriving also means pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. This allows more room for you to grow and extends even beyond mere academic growth. For example, a big public school could challenge introverted tendencies, or a hands-on research institution could push you to think about your major in a new way. The important part of this point is finding the right boundary between comfort and discomfort and making sure the experience is still enjoyable for you.

do the priorities of the student body match yours?

It's important when you're choosing what school you want to go to that you try to put yourself in the shoes of current students. Can you see yourself following their daily routine and enjoy doing it? I know a college campus is diverse, so it's hard to generalize a singular priority of the entire student body. But do overall themes like the social and party scene, the competitiveness of the academic environment and extracurricular offerings match what you are looking for? Do students tend to leave campus a lot or stay there? You might also want to look into if there are any school traditions that excite you.

how is the weather and location?

Though this definitely isn't the most important factor to consider, weather and location certainly has an impact on your mood. If you know you aren't a fan of really cold weather and snow to the point where it would make you not want to go to class or just experience college, then you might want to steer away from it if you can. Location also has to do with how far from home you want to be, or if you want to be in a city or suburb. An important note here though is it actually is a lot easier to adapt to new places and temperatures than you may think, so if everything else about the school makes you want to go there, then you probably should.

One aspect all these questions have in common is that they require quite a bit of research, but I promise that extra work is worth it if it makes you that much more certain of where you want to spend the next years of your academic career. And most importantly, relax. Your hard work has already paid off by getting accepted into any school. Trust your gut to make the best decision for yourself and enjoy the ride.

Neeti is a UCLA student who has loved writing ever since she was born, whether that meant composing poetry or writing opinionated articles. She loves learning languages and is currently learning her fifth one. She loves water, hiking, biking, playing with her dog, and listening to music.
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