College Choice Criteria
A review of some of the criteria you can use to find the colleges that are the best fit for you.
Before you even begin the process of researching prospective colleges, you need to take the time to consider the type of college that’s best for you.
When we talk with college-bound students, we spend a lot of time talking about the importance of fit — you need to feel as though you belong because it’s going to be your home for four (or more) years!
Take the time to think about your personality and about your needs and wants in the ideal college.
Some typical criteria that other students have used in the past includes:
- Type of degrees offered (2-year associates, 4-year bachelors)
- Student body size (small, medium, massive)
- Location of college (region of the country)
- College setting (urban, rural)
- Costs (tuition plus room and board)
- Average financial aid awarded
- College type (public, private, church or other affiliations)
- Average standardized test scores of admitted students (SAT, ACT)
- Types of admission choices (early action, early decision, etc.)
- Student body characteristics (gender split, diversity percentages, etc.)
- Average class size
- Percentage of classes taught by faculty
- Study abroad opportuities
- Quality of faculty
- Student organizations (professional and social)
- Graduation rate
- Sports (especially for athletes)
Here’s a sample college choice worksheet you can use or adopt for your college planning.
Want more guidance for choosing a college? Read this Quintessential Careers article: Choosing a College that’s Right for You
Need help with any of the terms described on this page? If so, find the answers in our High School College-Bound and College Planning Glossary.
Return to the main page of the College Planning Tutorial.
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