Big? Smaller?

Huge campus?

Commute back and forth?

Do you like a school with a lot going on, or a school that is more career-specific? Maybe a school a that specializes in online accounting degree or business programs?

Deciding what college and where to go is a HUGE decision. But an exciting one. One that might be of the very first choices YOU as a young person have to make.

Well, here are four simple things to consider when choosing colleges. This is really a post for all of you. Those of you that might not know exactly what the differences are between different colleges, I wrote an article one time that highlights four of the main types of colleges (or postsecondary) institutions. It brings out those uncertainties that many students and parents always have about college. 🙂

Check out my post here.

The idea with this first level of decision making for colleges to attend is for you to know what you want out of the college, and out of going to college. Be sure to make these decisions (MOSTLY) yourself. Get more responsible and show your parents you can do it. Believe me, its hard enough for them to let go of you.

What do you want the place you go to college to look like?

Do you like a large campus lined with old oak trees, or do you prefer palm trees? Do you like a large campus or a smaller one in size. What about the buildings? Some prefer one building. Others want to walk everywhere, stopping off at the quad on the way back. My campus at Eastern Illinois University was just perfect size. Enough to walk, and not drive, but small enough that wasn’t overwhelming. I liked it. I knew almost everyone.

The environment is a big part of your decision making and thus you happiness over the next four years or so. Be sure to make all the choices and write them down. You are just dreaming right now. Reality may set in when it comes to financing and being able to afford it, but in creating the perfect college, you understand more of the process better as well.

How many people do you want to go to college with?

One of the best experiences I had in college was because of the size of that college. I was given more opportunities to e involved with various extra-curricular activities and comfortable with knowing a lot of people on campus. Is that you? Do you prefer a large size campus with 40,000 + students, or less than 5,000?

When answering this question, think also about the size of your classes. Large schools have large classes. Maybe not all of them within your specific major, but many of them consist of 50, 100, or even 400 students in a large lecture hall. An environment non-conducive to one-on-one time with an instructor or other students. Having smaller classes affords you that opportunity. This will help to go through the list of available colleges as well.

What activities do you plan to take part in when you go to college?

I loved all of my involvement in college and it gave me so many more opportunities than any other college students. I was close to the university President. I ran events and booked big name stars to perform on campus. I was extremely popular, successful and made things happen while on campus. It is because Eastern afforded me that opportunity.

What about you? What kinds of activities and things do you want your college to offer? Are you more into athletics, music or plays? Do you like multi-cultural events, or more religious-based? Or do you not care? I would recommend becoming involved in something while in college. Check out what the big focus is for colleges that you’re looking through?

What do you want to study when you go to college?

This is a big one. Certainly you can’t go to a college that does not offer the degree you want. NEVER ignore your career choice in order to attend the cool school, or to go to the same college as your friends. It doesn’t matter because your friends won’t be with you when you apply for jobs after college.

It’s all you. Make your choice, your choice.

When you have your 2-3 career choices, find out the colleges that offer the degrees that cover these careers and make your choices from there.

Remember this is a dream list. Write down all of your thoughts and wishes. You WILL have to narrow it down to the top 4-5 colleges. You might be excited or disappointed with what you have to choose from, but its reality and your goal is to get through college to earn that much deserved degree to get the job that you want!

Your Success is My Success,

Keith Lipke


Please post any suggestions, comments or questions you might have. Tweet me or friend me on FB!

Keith Lipke is a careers and college recruiter, coach, mentor and blogger at The Career Closet. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college.