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2 years ago
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What is the most important factor when choosing a college?
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I am currently a sophomore in high school, and as such, I am starting to think about building a college list. What are the most important factors to consider when looking at colleges? When looking for jobs, does the level of prestige of your college/university matter or set you apart from other applicants?

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2 years ago[edited]

1. Environment. I presume you're committing to a college for four years, so you should research the city or town of each college (does it have lots of crime? Is it highly polluted and gross? Is it a sh-thole in the middle of nowhere?). You should also look within the college - what are its dorms like? How about the campus? The student life? Maybe it's a big party school, but all of the fun centers around the cliquey, highly selective fraternities/sororities. Or maybe you want somewhere more lowkey to focus on your academics. I highly recommend visiting any colleges you're interested in, even if you wait to get accepted first.

2. Does the college have a strong program for your intended major? DON'T look at corrupt US News for rankings - I recommend Niche.com for this and #1.

3. Everyone goes around saying, "Apply for FAFSA, you don't know what you'll get," or "Apply to schools regardless of your financial ability," ...go for it, but if you want to save money, I wouldn't apply to very prestigious, expensive schools unless you are a HIGHLY exceptional student, likely to get a generous scholarship. My family has an income over $155k, we know we won't get anything, and I would rather go somewhere cheaper now before grad school. Especially if you go for post-grad studies, where you go for undergrad hardly ever matters, unless it's an Ivy or similar. But these are very selective, and even if you get in, again, you are likely to get struck by lots of debt, having to pay $200-300k for undergrad alone.

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