People’s decision about what college to attend is often times influenced by outside forces. Parents, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends. But we have to remember, where we go to college is one of the most life-altering choices we make. Whether you are looking for a small town party school, a big city urban university, or a quiet religious college, here are some things that you should consider first.

 

1. No matter what your parents expect, always make the best decision for YOU.

If your parents desperately want you to go to their Alma-mater, as many parents do, start off the process by making it clear that you are also looking at other colleges. Don’t get their hopes up that you will be attending their college, and than pull the plug at the last minute. If you don’t even want to consider going to the same school that they did, you should also let them know this. Don’t diss their school, there is a reason that they love it, but rather tell them a list of things that you want and don’t want out of your college experience, and say that they college they have in mind and your list don’t harmonize.

2. Know yourself.

If you are well aware of the fact that you are a party-all-night kinda girl, and that procrastination is one of your talents, a big-time party school probably isn’t the best for you. I know that they are fun, but party schools aren’t the only schools with parties, believe it or not. If you opt for a more quite experience, you will be able to focus on your work and pass your classes, but still let loose on the weekends and have some fun! Also keep in mind whether you are wanting to go Greek. Many schools have notorious Greek life, while others have none at all. Going Greek is a really personal choice, and you shouldn’t just make it based on your friends plans.

3. Look at the strong programs at that school.

If you know for a fact that you want to end up being a magazine journalist, and they magazine journalism program at school 1 is one of the most prestigious in the nation while school 2′s program is nearly unknown, it is obviously a better choice to go with school 1. If, however, you are on the fence about your major, or have no idea at all, go with your gut. If it ends up not being a good fit when you declare your major, you can always transfer. Another thing to keep in mind: just because a program is more unknown doesn’t mean it isn’t a great fit for you!

4. Climate.

This is a more minor consideration, but still important! If you grew up in Arizona and have never seen the snow, you will probably be a little shocked when you start at a college someplace up north and experience 20 degree or lower weather for the first time! My advice- visit the campus during the fall. It gives you a middle range of temperature. Ask yourself if you can handle 20 degrees in either direction.