Every private college is unique, with its own culture, campus environment, and academic focus. Taken together, these institutions represent a broad spectrum of opportunities, and an almost limitless number of programs to study. With so many options, there’s a lot to consider.
What you should consider when choosing a college…
- Academic departments: Do they have what you’re looking for in an area of study?
- Class size: Do you prefer large lecture halls or smaller, intimate groups?
- Student-faculty ratios: Do you want close relationships with your professors?
- Faculty: Are they experts in their field? Do they focus on teaching or do they focus on research?
- Out-of-classroom opportunities: How soon – and how often – will you be able to dig into real-world work, like research, internships, or study-abroad programs?
- A STEM-focused education: Do you want to focus on science, technology, engineering, and/or math?
- A holistic education: Do you want an education that emphasizes developing well-rounded skills?
- Career placement services: How invested will this college be in helping you secure an internship or career?
- Campus setting and surrounding area: Do you want a quiet and remote location, a quintessential college town, or a bustling urban setting?
- Campus life, residence halls, dining plans: You’ll make this place your home for the next few years. Will the physical spaces and the culture of the campus work for you?
… And what college admissions will consider when choosing you.
- Academic preparation: Are you ready for the next level of your academic journey, and do you have the potential to be successful at this college?
- Challenging coursework: Have you pushed yourself academically, taking AP classes and a more advanced curriculum?
- Good grades in a range of courses: Do you excel across the board, earning high marks in a range of classes?
- Recommendations from teachers and mentors: What insights have the adults in your life shared about the work you’ve done so far and the potential they see in you?
- Written self-expression: Is your essay or writing sample articulate, compelling, and engaging?
- Interest in and enthusiasm for the college: Do you have a strong passion for the college you’re applying to?
- SAT and ACT scores: This is optional at many colleges, but if the college or program you’re applying to requires it, how well did you score?
- Extracurricular activities: Commitment matters over quantity. Did you serve in any leadership positions? Do you have a long track record of participation?
- Ranking among high school peers: How do you stack up against your classmates?
- Verbal expression and presentation: Are you confident, poised, and genuine in your meetings with representatives of the college?