Factors Impacting the College Experience

While cost, location, size, weather, academics (not necessarily in that order!!) are obvious factors to consider, others are not so obvious.

It’s the not-so-obvious factors that may have an incredibly profound impact on the college experience…

Class Availability. How easy is it to schedule the classes you need? If you can’t register for them when needed, graduation may be delayed.

Support Services. Academic and personal issues might arise. What support services are available (e.g., academic advising, health services, counseling)? How easy are they to access?

Class Size Calculation. If important to you, find out how the school calculates class size. How they are calculated can make a big difference in how you view the school.

Applying What You Learn. If you’d like to learn outside the classroom, ask about service work or internship opportunities.

Outside World Interaction. If you’d prefer not getting stuck in the campus “bubble,” ask how often students volunteer in the community or interact through study and service work abroad.

Weekends. Do students stay around? Is it a commuter campus? Weekends and other downtimes should be a vibrant part of the college experience.

Break-Time. What relaxation spots are nearby (e.g., coffee houses, theaters, restaurants)? Can you head out of town with little trouble? Off-campus experiences, if only for a few hours, can make a huge impact on the experience.

Alumni Networks. How active is the alumni association? This can be quite important in finding internships, developing contacts, and post-graduation networking.

College Mission. While rarely addressed, the school’s mission can strongly influence values, culture, and future direction.

Diversity. If you can’t visit for a first-hand impression, the student body demographics should be available on the school’s website and in its profile on CollegeData.

Contact our Professional College Planners for assistance in choosing the right schools at the right prices for your family.




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