Picking a college: which qualities to look for

Sara Fogarty, Copy Editor

When it’s time to pick a college, there’s a lot to consider.  Here is some advice on what aspects to really focus on as the time to make that decision gets closer.

That “homey” feeling

Your biggest influence about which college to attend should be the feeling that you get when you’re there. Your first year of college is the first time that you will be living anywhere but home, so attending a school that you feel most comfortable at is essential. While going on your college visits, the atmosphere of the campus is what you should be paying attention to the most.

The best place for your major

Finding a school that offers your intended major is extremely important, for obvious reasons. If, for example, you are interested in English or writing, attending a school that is known for math and science may not be the best fit for you.


In 2016 the average college student graduated with $37,172 in student loan debt. Make sure to research the percentage of financial aid met, scholarships, and loan opportunities for each potential school that you are looking at before you apply, so you can judge whether or not that school is financially realistic for you.

Type of School

Because there are so many colleges around, you have a ton of options for the type of school that you want to attend. Keep in mind which schools are 4-year universities, community colleges, public, private, and trade schools. It all comes down to where you see yourself most, and what type of education you hope to receive.


Nowadays you have the opportunity to attend a college close to home, across the U.S., or even in a different country. Think about where you would like to live after you graduate and let that impact your decision. If you plan on living in Nebraska after college, you don’t necessarily have to travel across the country for school; if you see yourself living somewhere far away, choosing a college near that region will be beneficial because you can work on internship and job opportunities in the area that you will already be in.

Good food

This may sound minor, but you will be eating this food everyday while you are attending school. Nothing will compare to your mom’s home cooking, but finding a college that has enjoyable food will make college that much easier. Many colleges also offer gluten free and vegan options, so if that is something that you are looking for then it is important to do some research about what type of food will be offered.

Admission rates

Looking into the admissions rate is important so you know how likely you are to get accepted.

The admissions rates will also make it easier to determine if that school is a dream school or a safety school. However, don’t let the admissions rate stop you from applying; there is a balance between being realistic about your applications and crossing every school off of your list just because you don’t think that you will get accepted.

Colleges look at more than just your grades, they also look at your school and community involvement, volunteer hours, and recommendation letters. A low acceptance rate should not automatically turn you away from a school, just take into account what you have to offer, and determine which schools are right for you.

Graduation rate

Although right now your main focus may be just getting accepted, you need to think about life after college. Graduation rates will help you determine your likeliness of graduating, and can give you incentive on what your potential options are for after college.

Internship opportunities

Along with graduation rates, internship opportunities will have a big impact on your future after college. Internships will give you job experience during college and will look great on your transcript, so finding a college with internship opportunities is key.

Class size

As for class size it really just depends on your preference. If you typically learn better in a more one on one environment, look for schools that have a small teacher-student ratio.  On the other hand if you are looking for bigger class sizes, typically those that take place in lecture halls, look for a college with a larger teacher-student ratio.

College Visit Days

Most importantly make sure that you are visiting as many colleges as you can. By touring multiple colleges you will start to understand which type of school you want to attend, and in the end it will make your final decision easier. If you would like to take a tour without missing school, Oct. 19 and Nov. 10 are the next two days off.