Identify Important Factors in Choosing a College

In choosing a college, the first things you'll probably consider will be the type of academic program and the availability of the major—or majors—you are most interested in.

Here are some other things to think about as you compare colleges. How you rank these other factors will depend largely on your personal preferences and needs.

Number your top five factors by importance below.


  • distance from home


  • type of school (2-year or 4-year)
  • school setting (urban, rural)
  • location and size of nearest city
  • co-ed, male, female
  • religious affiliation


  • enrollment
  • physical size of campus

Admission requirements

  • deadline(s)
  • test(s) required
  • average test scores, GPA, rank
  • special requirements


  • majors offered
  • special requirements
  • accreditation—recognized by regional or national accrediting bodies as meeting its objectives
  • student-faculty ratio
  • typical class size

College expenses

  • tuition, room and board
  • estimated total budget
  • application fee, deposits

Financial aid

  • deadline(s)
  • required forms
  • % of student population receiving aid
  • scholarships
  • part-time employment opportunities


  • residence hall requirements
  • availability
  • types and sizes
  • food plans


  • academic
  • recreational
  • other


  • clubs, organizations
  • sororities/fraternities
  • athletics, intramurals
  • other

Campus visits

  • when to visit
  • special opportunities