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How to Choose the Right College or University

How to Choose the Right College or University


choosing-right-online-schoolBy Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS

Deciding that you want to attend college is one of the biggest decisions you’ll face in your adult life. And once you’ve decided to go to college, you have to make another huge decision: Which college or university will you attend?

There are thousands of colleges and universities in the United States. Picking the school that is right for you is no easy task and feels overwhelming.

How do you start the decision-making process? Here are some different factors to think about when you’re determining which college or university to attend.

What Academic Program Are You Interested In?

What do you want to study? Do you want to get a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree or a certificate? Answering these two questions is probably the best place to start.

Most schools offer similar degrees. If you want to study something less common (for example, electrical engineering), you need to research which schools offer that degree.

What’s Your Financial Situation?

Review your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) figures and potential student aid packages. Performing this task helps you determine how much money and aid you will have as you attend college. Remember, you need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) first in order to get this information.

In addition, out-of-state tuition costs a lot more than in-state tuition. The extra cost should be factored into your budget if you choose an out-of-state college or university.

There are affordable schools and not-so-affordable schools in this country. Pick a school that best reflects your financial budget.

Do You Want a Traditional or a Non-Traditional Learning Environment?

In today’s global market, online schooling has seen a major rise in popularity. Non-traditional students, working parents and other people interested in furthering their education can benefit from the flexibility that online schools such as American Public University (APU) offer. Some students may prefer the atmosphere of a campus, and others may prefer the appeal of doing classwork online in the comfort of their homes.

Is Geography an Issue?

Are you willing to relocate to go to school? Many people do every semester. Other students may be established in their current residence and need a school that is online or within driving distance. If you attend a school that is out of state, be sure to factor travel expenses into your budget.

Going to college is not a decision that should be taken lightly, so think long and hard about it. Discuss it with your family and talk to as many school officials as possible to get the best possible information before you make your decision.