There’s no question – narrowing down your college list can be tough, especially after you’ve been accepted to a few good ones. So how do you make the decision? While you can always transfer if you find your choice doesn’t work for you after your freshman year, it’s much easier and less stressful to do some legwork now to compare those remaining on your list.
But what should you compare? We’ll run through a few different things that will help you make the best decision for your education.
You may have already looked at your potential colleges’ websites, but a second or third look won’t hurt! Answer these questions when exploring their site and see how they stack up to your other choices.
- What is the school’s mission? Values?
- What clubs are available? Sports? Other extracurriculars?
- What else does the site say about campus life?
- How does your major program look?
- Do the available classes match your career goals?
- Does the school accept any college or AP credits you took in high school?
- What are they looking for in a student?
- Do they offer an online campus tour?
Create your own questions as you search the school’s website – think about what’s important to you in a college and your education when crafting them.
You’ll want to check out what people are saying in the comments, the events on campus, and just generally get an idea for the school and how they talk to prospective students, current students, and alumni. Are they engaging with commenters?
Remember though: websites, campus tours, and social media pages are curated so you only see what the school wants you to see. They can have very valuable information, but always take the messaging with a grain of salt.
One of the best resources you can use when it comes to comparing colleges is alumni reviews. These students, after all, have a front row seat to what it was actually like at the school. They are likely to be talking about the pros and cons of attending, what they thought about their professors, how they viewed their classes, and the campus experience.
In some cases, you may even have an opportunity to interview an alumni. Though if you’re interviewing through the college, they may be employed by them and could be influenced to present the school in a better light.
Whether you’re just getting started on your college search or have to make a decision come May 1st, there are plenty of things you can look at online without leaving the comfort of your home! Make sure you’re thinking about what’s important to you and what you’re looking for in a college while you’re making your way through this list.