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Things to Consider When Selecting a College

Deciding where to apply to college can seem overwhelming given the fact that there are over 3000 colleges and universities in the United States.  The first step is to begin to think about what characteristics are most important to you in a college. When considering whether a college would be a good place for you, consider the following criteria. You might want to print this page out and cut up the list, making three columns. The first column should be a list of criteria that would be CRITICAL as a fit college, the second list would be criteria that you would prefer but don't HAVE TO HAVE, the third list would be those criteria that are NOT IMPORTANT to you. These lists might change as you begin visiting schools and doing more research.



Academic offerings/requirements/forming your own major, double degrees, 3+3 accelerated programs (undergraduate + graduate combined degrees)

Specific majors offered



Library facilities

Study abroad programs

Availability of classes

Support for student government

Research opportunities

Honors program

Quality of student newspaper


Hands on learning, lecture, discussion

Quality of laboratory facilities

Availability of majors and double majors

Academic rigor

Atmosphere-laid-back, intellectural, social, politically active, compact, architectural style, residential

Accessibility of professors


Academic support for earning disabilities

Availability of academic scholarships

Small discussion groups, class size

Flexible curriculum pre-professional programs


Radio station on campus

Sports level- Div 1, 2 or 3




Being with intellectually vibrant people, more laid back

Being one of the smartest in the class

Teaching style-lecture, discussions, hands on

Being a prominent figure on campus

Resident/Commuter ratio

On campus entertainment options

LGBT supportive environment

Friendly students

Party atmosphere

Size of student body

School spirit

Spectator sports

Predominately religious student body

Fraternities and sororities

Socially or politically conscious people

Free thinkers and non-conformists

Fashion conscious student body

Single sex or coed campus

Relative close by

Diverse student body




Being in California

Staying on the West Coast

Art/Music studios

Intermural sports

Campus beauty, architecture on campus

Freshmen allowed to have cars

Outdoor recreation

City life

Ability to get home for the weekend


Dorm proximity to campus

Guaranteed housing for four years

Substance free housing

Bustling student center/quad

Urban / Suburban / Rural setting

Mountains/beach proximity

Athletic facility


Compact or large campus

There are also a series of websites with large data bases which allow you to input your criteria and develop a list of colleges that fit your criteria. Explore in more detail the schools that seem to come up frequently on your data searches.

You can go to:,,,,


The CCC also has reference books to use in developing lists of "good fit" schools.