5 Things You Should Know About A College Before You Accept

Stop! Before you make any decisions, here's what you need to know about college

Flickr user Gexydaf

You’ve received acceptance letters from multiple colleges and now it’s time to select one from among these. This is no easy decision. Every college is sure to have some features that drew you to applying to them in the first place. Now it’s time to select that one college where you will spend your next four years. Before you make this critical decision, it is advisable to spend time going through the various aspects of each college to make sure you have not overlooked any crucial factors.

Here are 5 things to know about college that are worth taking another look into before you accept any college:

Things to Know About College: The Degree Program Requirements

Different colleges have different sets of graduation requirements in terms of class credits. Some may only consider the mandatory courses in your chosen major, while other schools that focus on a more well-rounded education may require you to complete more electives outside your major. You must find out how many courses are required in total, and also how many are required within and outside your major. It is also worth asking whether these requirements are flexible.

Things to Know About College: Availability of Your Preferred Course

Set on enrolling in a particular program? Find out whether it is easy to get into that program. Hugely popular programs fill up fast and you may not be able to get in. Others may be difficult to get in because of the limited class size or because the programs is not offered every semester. Landing on the wait-list can mean wasting time and money. Understanding how difficult it could be to get into your chosen program can help you make an informed decision when choosing a college.

The Final Cost

The cost is a key factor in choosing a college. You would have received your financial aid package by now, and that changes everything. Deduct the financial aid package from the total cost of education for the final costs. That includes the cost of tuition, accommodation, food, textbooks, travel, and other course costs. Can you afford to pay that from your family funds?

Also, take time to understand the financial aid you’ve been awarded from each school. Look over the terms of repayment as that can make a significant difference.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Some colleges are known for having large classes, while others have fewer students in each class. What is important is for you to choose a learning environment that works best for you. If you learn best through personalized attention and direct access to your professors, you should consider choosing a school with a smaller student-to-faculty ratio.

Campus Environment

Every campus has its own distinct ambiance. Some are quieter and more impersonal, with students rushing around and rarely interacting with each other. Others are friendlier and more boisterous with students freely chatting to one another. Which atmosphere appeals to you more and which do you think you will be more comfortable in? The reason assessing the campus environment is so important is because you can only grow, develop and succeed in an environment that works for you and that you are comfortable in. The best way to evaluate the campus environment of the different colleges is by scheduling campus visits.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!