Choosing the Right College

It feels like just yesterday that I was researching undergraduate colleges. It’s crazy to think that I’ll be making my way in the real world, post-college graduation in just over a year. While I’m currently contemplating graduate school, I can’t help but reflect on the time I spent researching colleges to attend right out of high school.

Once a student has decided that he or she wants to attend college, perhaps the next most important step is figuring out what type of college is the right one for them. A four-year college? A two-year college? A private college? A public college?

There are several factors to consider when figuring out what college – and what type of college – is right for you. Here are a few facts about just some types of colleges you might want to consider.

  • Private colleges

Private colleges receive funding from tuition and private sources. While they are known for having higher tuition than public colleges, it’s also possible to get a good amount of financial aid for private colleges.

  • Public colleges

Whereas private colleges receive funding from tuition and private sources, public colleges rely on local and state governments. Tuition for public colleges is usually cheaper as opposed to private colleges — especially if students are from the state of the college they are attending.

  • Four-year colleges

Four-year colleges are exactly what they sound like — colleges offering four-year programs. Students who choose to attend a four-year college will receive a bachelor’s degree after their four years.

  • Two-year colleges

At a two-year college, students will be able to earn a certificate or an associate degree after two years. Community colleges fall under this category.

One great thing about two-year colleges is the ability to not only save money by getting general education courses out of the way rather than diving straight into a four-year college, but students can then transfer to a four-year college if they wish.

For students who don’t know exactly what they want to study, this might be the right route. I had several friends go to a community college right after high school and then transfer to a four-year college.

Other factors to consider:

  • Programs offered 

When researching colleges, you’ll definitely want to keep in mind that just because you might want to go to a specific college, it doesn’t mean they are offering the major you’re hoping to study.

This definitely happened to me when I was looking into undergraduate colleges. If you know what you want to study, look into schools that offer that major, then narrow down your search from there.

  • Athletics

Want to get involved in sports in college? Look into colleges that offer the sport you’re considering. Avoid finding out that the college you’re attending doesn’t offer the sport or perhaps, division, that you were hoping to get involved with.

  • Location

I’d be lying if I said where my college was located didn’t matter. I believe I found the perfect location in coming to Cal Poly. It’s a perfect mesh of country and beach living. I also knew I wanted to stay in California when I was researching undergraduate colleges to apply to, which narrowed down my search quite a bit.

Narrowing down not only the state, but perhaps the overall environment you want to be in during college will definitely help you out in your college research.

There are several factors that come into play when deciding on the right college for you. You’ll ultimately find the right college for you if you simply decide on the specific things you want in a college and finding a college that encompasses all (or the majority) of those things.

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Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja

Kassi Luja is a junior at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism with a concentration in news-editorial. At school, she can often be found in the Mustang Daily newsroom where she works as a copy editor. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, listening to music and spending time with family and friends.
Kassi Luja

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