12 Questions to Help Make Your College Decision
Choosing the college you’ll attend is a big decision that helps to shape your future. In fact, there are over 101 colleges and universities in North Carolina alone! Different schools fit different students, so in addition to checking potential majors and future careers, there are other factors to consider as well. The following will help you weigh your options as you research the best fit for you.
You’ll likely meet interesting and different people wherever you go to college, but ask yourself these questions.
- Do you want to be with students primarily from North Carolina or even a particular region of North Carolina?
- Do you want to enroll at a school that draws students from across the country and around the world?
- What about the student ratio of males to females, racial diversity, and average age?
North Carolina colleges and universities are located in large and small communities, from the mountains to the coast.
- Do you want to attend college close to home or farther away?
- What distance from home and climate do you prefer?
- How does the cost of living in that location compare with the cost of living where you live now?
- What opportunities does the location offer for recreational activities, part-time employment, and internships?
Students and families may already have an association with particular schools, or they may form an opinion about them by talking with friends who went there in the past or go there now. While that’s a good way to get information, it also helps to do some research on your own.
- Visit the campus if you can. What appeals to you? This may be different than what appeals to your friends or family.
- What student services are offered? Consider those related to people with disabilities, tutoring, career searches, job placement, and extracurriculars.
- What opportunities are there to get involved inside and outside the classroom?
- What are the safety statistics, housing options, and other facilities that are important to you?
- What information do independent ratings offer about the school?
Cost of Attendance
While having many colleges and universities to consider is exciting, the cost of attendance is an important factor to consider. Some costs, such as room, meals, books, supplies, personal items and travel (if schools you’re considering are within your geographic region) are probably comparable; but tuition can vary widely, depending on whether you attend a public two- or four-year college in North Carolina, a four-year private college, or a college in another state.
When considering costs:
- Don’t rule out any school based on cost alone, but do think about it very carefully.
- If the cost is more than your family can comfortably afford, look for financial aid opportunities – scholarships, grants, work-study, savings, and loans. The fall before you’ll be enrolling in college, fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- If you need help finding financial aid or understanding the process, contact the financial aid office at the college(s) you’re considering, visit CFNC.org or call us toll-free at 866.866.CFNC. School aid administrators and CFNC representatives will be glad to help you find options at no charge; you don’t ever have to pay for assistance.
Now that you’ve given this more thought, what type of school looks best for you?