A big part of your college experience is outside of class. Consider which activities you enjoy and where you want to live.
Finding a college match that suits your interests, hobbies and preferred lifestyle is almost as important as the location, cost and academic program of a school. Your campus life will inform your learning experience and life in ways that are unique to the college you choose. Plus, this aspect of your college will influence the friends you make and the opportunities for extracurricular activities and jobs.
For example, let's say you're interested in playing a sport like soccer, but you'd also like to join a sorority or fraternity and participate in study abroad one year. You hope to live on-campus your freshman year and you're thinking of going to law school. That means you'll need a school that has: a soccer team, an active greek system, a study abroad program, an on-campus housing and pre-law classes.
Knowing your options will help you balance these interests, but you'll also have to weigh which of these interests are most important to you. Maybe you'd be ok with playing club or intramural soccer instead of being on a NCAA team, if you can get all of the other items on your list. Or, if a college has all the items on your list, but it lacks a study abroad program, the school may partner with another college -- however, this will require some research.
Campus Life Questions
A big part of your college experience is outside of class. Consider which activities you enjoy and where you want to live (on- or off-campus). If you play sports or you're a musician or an artist, this should also factor into your college match.
Student Housing: Do you want to live on campus?
Which of these will most accurately describe your social life in college?
- Captain Has-Fun-A-Lot
- Let's-Go-As-a-Group Guy
- Lord of the Library
- Ideal Course Load
- Sports on Campus
Extracurricular Activities: Did you participate in extracurricular activities in high school and will you do any in college?
Greek Life: How do you feel about greek life?
- I'm ready to rush with everyone else!
- I might consider joining since a lot of people are doing it.
- I'll think about it, but keep my options open.
- Rush? Nah, not me.
Clubs & Organizations: Are clubs and organizations in your college future?
- Yes, there are many I want to join.
- No, I'm all about academics.
- Perhaps, we'll see what's available.
Music & Arts: Are you a musician, performer or an artist?
- Yes, but only for fun!
- Yes, I plan to major in the arts -- I'm quite accomplished.
- Yes, I'm very accomplished -- one of the best in the country.
Sports: Which best represents how you feel about college sports?
- Mega fan!
- I'd go to a game or two with friends if they were happening.
- Sports? I don't watch sports.
Which best describes your interest in playing sports?
- All-Star, MVP, State Champ
- Captain, Scholar Athlete
- Team Player
- Gym Rat
Diversity: Is it important to you if your classmates come from a diverse range of ethnicities, beliefs and backgrounds?
- Yes, diversity is very important to me.
- Yes, it would be nice.
- I don't have a preference
Faculty: True or False: Having time with faculty matters to me.
- True, I want a low student-to-faculty ratio.
- False, the student-to-faculty ratio doesn't matter.
Freshmen Class Size: How many students do you want in your freshmen class?
- 100 Students
- 100-500 Students
- 500-1,000 Students
- More than 2,000 Students
- Doesn't Matter
Gender: Is gender ratio important to you?
- Yes, I'd like a mostly female or all female school.
- Yep, I want it mixed half and half.
- Definitely! I'd like an all or mostly male school.
Religion: Are you religious and should it play a part in your education?
- Yes, I'd also like a faith-based college.
- Yes, but it doesn't have to be a faith-based college.
- No, I'm not religious.
- No, I'd also rather attend a secular college.
Graduate School Prep: Do you want a pre-professional program like pre-law or pre-med?
- Not sure, but I'd like the option.