Choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life. When you will be spending at least a couple years, and thousands of dollars, on something, you want to make sure you make sure it’s the perfect fit.
You most likely have some priorities when it comes to choosing your school. Obviously, you want to go to a school that offers a great education in the subject you’ve chosen to study. Extracurricular activities and sports might be important to you, or maybe you’re more interested in the cultural options nearby. Housing and social environment are always important, and of course, the cost. The list goes on, and everyone has different expectations for their college experience.
That being said, there are a few considerations that can potentially make or break the college experience that tend to be overlooked. They might not seem important right now, but are likely to matter over time.
1. Hidden Costs
College are generally upfront about the costs of attendance, including tuition, room and board, and fees, and when you budget for your education, you know to include costs for books, lab fees, and the like. But what about the other costs of college that you might not think about? For example, if you choose a college on the other side of the country, how will you get home for holidays and breaks? Will you need to store your belongings over the summer instead of bringing it all home? The cost of living in different areas can vary as well, which can take a bite out of your budget. These expenses can add up, so think about how you’ll manage them before making your decision.
2. Opportunities After Graduation
The rate of students who are employed or heading to graduate school is likely important to you as you compare schools. You want to know that you will be able to achieve your goals post-graduate, but when you look at those numbers, pay attention to where students are getting jobs or going to school. Consider whether you will be able to get into the best online MBA program or land a great job in your field – where you want to work. There’s a good chance that your school’s career services department will have a great placement record, but many of those jobs will be regional. In other words, if you go to school in Boston, expect to see recruiters and job-listings from Boston-based companies. That’s great if you want to stay in New England after graduation, but if you aren’t interested in sticking around after graduation, expect to do more of the legwork yourself. [Read more…]