What are the most important things when selecting a college?
My daughter is trying to decide between four colleges that she has been accepted to. Before we left for our overnight visits (which, by the way, I’m writing this blog while out to dinner with myself in Milwaukee while Maia spends a night at Marquette), she asked my husband and I to list the top five characteristics we would want in a college for her. She is my oldest, so although this is new to me, I went with my gut and sent her this list:
I’m taking academics out of the mix because every school you’re looking at is strong in academics. That being said, here are my top characteristics of a college I want for you:
- You feel like it’s your place, like you relate to the kids, teachers and vibe of the campus.
- Strong student support in every way, from academics to emotional to bridging from college to career.
- Activities that encourage you to grow and get involved, from abroad programs, to faith based programs, to exercise options, to sororities, to entrepreneurial opportunities.
- Safe campus and surrounding area.
- A bigger surrounding community for you to get involved in as you grow along with a location that is easy to get home from.
My husband did that same and sent her his list (one upping me with adding a 6th 😉):
I would naturally rank academics very high on the list but the colleges you have identified as your top pick are all strong in this area. I also think is goes without saying but your safety is number one above all other things.
- Access to a healthy life style, spiritually, physically, mentally-a place where you can feel comfortable living your Christian values, access to good nutrition and work out facilities, on campus health care facilities
- Strong study abroad options – both quality and quantity options
- Low student faculty ratio and easy access to your teachers– I believe you will do better in this environment
- Easy to access academic support services to “help you when you get stuck”
- Access to clubs and activities that match your interest – community
- Easy access to come home
I know everyone will have a different take on this question based on your own child’s situation, personality and needs, but I’d love to hear your feedback on what you think is important when deciding on a college. Both parents sending their first off and parents who have kids in college and may have a different perspective a couple of years into it.
Please comment below.