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What college is right for me?

Choosing a college is a huge decision that will impact the rest of your life. You need to know this, not to frighten you about the decision, but so that you understand how important it really is to take your time and choose wisely once you have asked yourself, "how do I find the right college for me?" You must do your research and consider all of your options before you decide what institution of higher learning you want to attend. If you do this thoughtfully, you will have a great experience that will further your life in many ways, both academically and socially. You will find the perfect answer to the question "what college is right for me?"

Academics and Classes
Academics are the first area that you need to consider when looking at schools. If you know what type of work you want to do, it will help you narrow down the type of degree you want to pursue. Then, you can cross off any colleges that do not offer that program. Next, try to figure out which colleges are reputed to have the best classes in those degrees. Remember, a school does not necessarily have a good program just because it offers one. Also, keep in mind that most incoming freshman change their major within the first year, so choose a school that offers many options.

Size and Location
You will need to figure out what size school you prefer. This answer is different for everyone. Large, medium and small schools each have different benefits and disadvantages. A small school will give you a better chance to connect one-on-one with students and professors, but it will have less educational programs to choose from, such as fewer Study Abroad and degree programs. A larger school will have a wide range of options, but you cannot count on really getting to know the people around you. If there is a part of the country or a city that you want to live in, this too should be a factor in your decision.

Feel and Fit
Finally, you need to tour the schools and see how you feel there. Remember that you will have to spend many hours at the school for four or five years. Often, you will live, attend classes and even work there. With that much time being spent in one place, you will want to make sure that you feel content, that it feels like a good fit. You will have a better college experience if you are comfortable.

Overview
Do not panic if you find yourself thinking, "how do I know what college is right for me? I do not have the slightest clue how to find the right college for me!" Most people feel like this at some point. What is important to remember is that you can sort everything out if you take some time to objectively consider all your options using the criteria and priorities mentioned above. In no time, you will find the best college for you.