Emotional Side of Choosing a College

By Coach Paul   There are many reasons to choose to attend a college or university: academics, sports, cost, social reasons, family ties and more. In addition to those things, you should also consider questions about how you may feel about a school. Here are a few questions from CAA to ask as you consider colleges on your list:  

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How far away is this school from my home? How far do I want to be from home?   Location is an important aspect of a college. Think about it for a moment. Do you know where Yale is located, or Harvard, Notre Dame, or Stanford? Sure you have heard of the schools, but have you thought about their location? It is important to think about where you want to attend college as it relates to proximity to your home, weather, and where you may want to live after college. Each person can have their own answer and may want to try college in a place that is completely new.   What is the average class size of this college? Does the size of a class matter to my learning?   Class size is another factor that can be important to some students. Will you have a hard time learning in a class with 100-200 people? Is it important for you to have conversations with your professors, or will a teacher’s assistant work for you? One thing to note is that class sizes get smaller as you go further in your college experience. While you may have a large introductory class of 100 students, your upper-level class may have 12-15. This may be something to ask an admissions officer about as you research a college.   Are there any unique policies with the college that I should be aware of? How do they relate to me?   You should be aware that some private religious colleges have requirements or rules that can impact your college experience. They may require you to take certain classes or attend religious events, such as chapel services. It also may be reflected in the housing options offered by the school. A public school may allow men and women to be on the same floor in the same housing complex, while a private, religious school may not only have separate housing for men and women but even restrict members of the opposite sex from visiting your room. Things like this should be considered as you think about where you may live at a college.   Will I feel safe at this school?   Safety is not just something for a parent to consider, it is important for students as well. What crimes have been committed on or around campus in previous years? Does the school have police officers that patrol the area? Do they offer emergency call boxes around campus to call for help if needed? Not feeling safe when visiting a campus may challenge your overall success. So visit the campus and surrounding neighborhood in the morning and evening.   Are there any special services offered at this school that can help me?   Getting into a college is only the first step. Once you get there, are they committed to your success? Do they have a career services office? Do they offer to help you with your essays for class through a writing lab? What tutoring options do they have for your math or science classes? If you have a disability of some kind, do they offer any help to you specifically? If these questions are important to you, be sure to speak up as you research and connect with colleges.   We hope these questions helped you to consider other matters as you research colleges. CAA coaches are here to have a discussion about these issues and more as they relate to your college preferences.