How to Create a Pros and Cons List for Schools in Your College Search

Create a pros and cons list to help you during your college search

Flickr user thebarrowboy (image cropped)

When you have a few colleges or universities on your radar, it may be a bit difficult to choose between them, especially if you received acceptance letters from all your top choices. Creating a pros and cons list is an excellent way to help you narrow the schools down and see how they compare to each other.

What Matters To You?

Before you can create a pros and cons list, you have to determine what matters to you most in your future school. What are you looking for in a college? Once you’ve decided this, you can move on to actually creating the list.

Aspects of the School to Consider

Once you’ve determined what matters to you, you can start to consider and compare certain aspects of each school. These are just a few aspects of the school you will want to take into account. Think about your opinions, the pros, and the cons of each.

Finances: Is School A expensive? Did School B offer you a scholarship? Is School C in-state and actually in your desired price range? How much debt would you have in each school? Write down the benefits and the problems for each college when it comes to your finances, but think beyond just the tuition! Consider financial aid and travel expenses as well.

Major: Most important: Does this school have your desired major and not just a similar study? How does the program look? Does it have a strong segue into your desired career path?

Location: Are you looking to go to school in a town or the city? Does the area surrounding the school have a lot of activities? Is it too cold, too hot?

Campus Life: Campus life is an extremely important aspect of your college experience! You’ll want to consider what schools have what pros when it comes to athletics, clubs, organizations, and events. Also consider the cons. What are some colleges missing that you are looking for or enjoy in your free time?

These are not all the aspects of the school you will want to consider, but you will know what you’re looking for in a college once you’ve determined what matters to you. However, these are major parts of your future education and life, so you definitely want to have at least these four on your pros and cons lists.

Compare Your Lists

Once you’ve completed your lists for each of your potential colleges, it’s time to compare. How do they stack up against each other? You may realize that although you really thought you’d like School A, another school far outweighs it in pros. School B may be the better choice for you after all!

Take your time when creating the pros and cons lists. They do not need to be completed overnight. Think carefully and chew over information to really get a sense of how you feel about some aspects of your potential schools. It’s also a good idea to ask an objective adult what they think of your choices and your lists!

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