Hail to the Chiefs: A Column

Mina Orlic and Jenna Harper

With applications finished and scores sent in, the process of applying for college is almost complete. The next obstacle facing us: admissions decisions. While we wait patiently (or maybe not so patiently) for those future-defining letters and emails, it’s important to consider what to look for in a college when making that final decision. Is it the cost of tuition? Location? Social life? Perhaps a combination of several elements? Keep reading for the most important things to look for when deciding which college to choose.

   Academics aside, there are many important factors to consider when choosing a college, and the location is a big one. Whether this pertains to out-of-state colleges or ones that are just a few miles away, it’s vital to consider what kind of place in which you want to live. Do you want SD, something similar, or something completely different? Remember, if you’re thinking about choosing a college that’s somewhat out of your comfort zone in terms of location, that you’re maybe a little nervous about, you can always come back and visit.

   Another big college-deciding factor is cost. Whether it’s a private school or an out-of-state-school, if you need to pay for room and board as well as books and supplies and personal expenses, it’s more than important that you figure out what your family can afford and take that into account. However, that shouldn’t necessarily be a limiting factor, as there are plenty of ways to obtain financial aid, including FAFSA, scholarships, student loans, and work-study programs. 

   Something that may not be important to some but is vital to others is the social atmosphere of a college. Some are into big-time school spirit while others prefer a lowkey environment. It’s all about your social needs and what you prefer, but it’s necessary to note that the friends you make in college tend to be more long-lasting, and the connections you make can help you down the road in many ways. Some things to think about in terms of collegiate social life are sororities/fraternities, school spirit, sports, clubs, and campus activities. 

    Similar to the social atmosphere of a college, the size of the school can play a large role in your comfort level and overall experience. A large school can be overwhelming to some students while a small school can be underwhelming to others. Additionally, school size can also directly impact your classroom experience. Larger schools are more likely to have more pronounced student to faculty ratios, resulting in larger class sizes and fewer opportunities for you to receive personal attention and one-on-one assistance from professors. 

    Housing options are another big thing to consider. Take a moment to evaluate what type of environment you feel most comfortable in. Same-sex versus co-ed dorms, multiple roommates versus one roommate, and private or communal bathrooms are all important considerations when trying to choose the college that will work best for your personal needs. 

   While making final decisions regarding your future and where you want to go to college may seem daunting, it’s important to remember that everything works out for a reason. Consider these factors when making these last decisions, and you’ll surely end up where you’re meant to be.