How to Find Your Dream College: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself
No pressure, but choosing a college to attend may be one of the most important life decisions you make. As anyone who’s ever decided to pursue higher education knows, it’s also one of the most difficult. With a multitude of factors to consider and a range of options to choose from, it’s easy to feel like you have more questions than answers.
Asking yourself the right questions can help narrow your options and lead you to your dream school. Keep reading to check out the 10 questions you should ask yourself when choosing a college.
1. Do you want to be able to go home to do laundry, eat Sunday dinner, or visit with family?
First things first: geography. Do you like the idea of being able to make it home in time to have dinner with your family, or are you terrified by the idea of your parents being close enough for surprise visits? Knowing whether you want the convenience of going home on a whim will help you exclude, or include, regions and narrow the number of schools to look at.
While some students thrive in large lecture halls, many find that they prefer small class sizes with individual attention from a professor. Figuring out which class style suits your learning style can help you select a college where you’ll find both success and happiness. If you’re not sure which is more appealing, consider how much you find yourself contributing to in-class discussions, how much your mind wanders in a large auditorium, or how comfortable you are working in small groups or pairs.
3. Is flexibility important to you?
For students with kids, jobs, or other commitments, it may be important to find a school that can accommodate work, childcare, or other needs. You may want to consider schools that offer online or blended classes, discounted child daycare, night or Saturday schedules, community resources, support groups, tutoring or other services that can help you to successfully balance life inside and outside of school.
4. What type of degree do you want to pursue?
It can be hard enough to consider starting college, let alone think about what you hope to achieve. Nailing down which type of degree you want to pursue—vocational, certification, bachelor’s or master’s— can help you choose a college that will prepare you for the future. If you’re unsure what type of degree or program you plan to pursue, it may be helpful to look at schools that offer a range of different options so you can explore alternatives before making a decision.
5. Do you want to attend a two-year or four-year college?
Higher education comes in many forms—and deciding what type of school fits your academic and personal needs and goals is an important step in the decision-making and admissions process. Do you want an A.S. degree to launch your career quickly? Do you want a degree you can transfer? Try a two-year college. Do you want to pursue a bachelor’s degree right away? Try a four-year college. Can’t decide? Try a two-year college that offers workforce degrees or guaranteed entry into a four-year program.
6. Is affordability important?
Sure, money may be no object for some, but for most students the cost of a college education can be a deciding factor. If you are concerned about the affordability of higher education, financial aid and scholarship availability are very important factors in choosing a college. Look at schools that offer financial support for tuition and books and resources such as affordable housing. If you are interested in pursuing a four-year degree you may want to consider attending a state or community college for the first two years before transferring to a university, an option that can dramatically cut costs and provide access to an experience and education you may not have thought you could afford.
Are you looking to join clubs? Volunteer? Play recreational sports or visit the beach? Each school offers a unique campus life and extracurricular activities, including many that are located exclusively at a particular college. If campus involvement is something that is important to you, browse descriptions and photos on college websites or search for schools associated with specific clubs, arts, entertainment, outdoor activities or volunteer opportunities that you’re interested in.
8. Is it important for you to get hands-on job experience?
For many, the primary motivation for attending college is the various career opportunities that a college degree can open up. In part, this is due to the hands-on work experiences accessible through higher education; many schools offer work-study programs, skill sessions, internships, placement resources and career centers that can help prepare you for a future in the workforce. If you are looking for career preparedness—as well as some serious résumé builders–choose a school in a city that is home to a particular company or industry sector, or a school that has partners in your chosen field.
In many ways, your success largely depends on your school’s professors and their training, qualifications and interests. If you feel connected to, inspired by, and respect your educator, you are more likely to seek and achieve academic success. So choose a school based on the quality of its teaching staff and look for a school that has innovators, scholar practitioners, award winners or respected experts in their field.
10. Are you ready to take the next step?
If you’re ready to take the next step toward a rich education, successful career, and lifelong pursuit of happiness, then there’s no better place to do so than at Seminole State College of Florida. Seminole State has been serving the Central Florida community for over 50 years, during which it has awarded 90,000 credentials and gained a reputation as a leading educator for both bachelor’s and associate’s degrees. Whether you’re looking to earn a two-year degree, a bachelor’s degree, pursue a master’s degree or DirectConnect to a four-year university, the resources, facilities, and programs at Seminole State will set you up for success—and the future of your dreams.