Campus Life

Top 10 Reasons Why Students Choose a College

Students spend a fair amount of time identifying and analyzing their options for college before making a final decision. Check out some of the main factors students consider during their decision-making process.

1. Quality of Education

According to a UCLA Survey, the academic reputation, specifically the quality of faculty within a college, is the top reason students choose the college they attend. This decision is based not so much on the rankings of schools but rather a more general review of what an institution offers. Students look closely at the quality of professors, the accessibility to college facilities and job opportunities upon graduation when considering a college’s value.

2. Degrees and Programs Offered

According to the 2015 New America’s Education Policy Program’s College Decisions Survey, 93.3% of prospective students compare and contrast degree and programs offered when choosing a college. Whether students know what they want to study and are looking for schools with good programs in that field, or a student is undecided and wants to make sure he or she has numerous options, offered fields of study play a key role in choosing the right school.

3. Jobs After College

That’s the plan, right? College is an incredible experience in its own right, but the main objective arguably is to land a job upon graduation. According to the  UCLA Survey, 60.1% of students agree that being prepared to obtain a good job after college is critical when choosing a school.


4. Tuition Costs

The overall price of attending school is important to students. Tuition and travel expenses have an impact when choosing the right school. College Decisions Survey states two out of three students (63%) found tuition costs to be of the highest influence.

5. Financial Aid Received

Along the same lines as tuition costs, financial aid is an important element to consider. With the costs of college education continuously rising, it’s no surprise that financial aid carries considerable weight on deciding which school to attend. The UCLA survey states that nearly 60% of students consider choosing a college based on their financial aid package.

6. Geography

A college or university’s location is a significant factor when deciding on college. Whether they want to live in a certain part of the country or need to stay close to home, geography is on the minds of most prospective students. The UCLA Survey states that roughly 37.9% of incoming first-year students enrolled in an institution within 50 miles of their permanent residence.

7. First Impressions

A student’s perception of how they will fit in within a certain school’s setting has proved to be extremely influential. The UCLA survey shows that 42.5% of prospective students’ first experience with a campus is a major indicator of college choice.


8. College Peer Size

The overall size of a school is also taken into account. It is important for rising high school graduates to have access to faculty and facilities, as well as a small class size for an enhanced learning opportunity. 31.2% of male and 42.2% of female students surveyed in the UCLA survey stated college size as a very important factor when deciding where to go to college.

9. Percent of Grads getting into Top Grad/Professional Schools

Even as seniors in high school, some students already have aspirations to further their education beyond an associate or bachelor’s degree. The UCLA survey revealed 58.8% of students find it very important a college prepare them for graduate or professional school. It is important to know how many peers aspire to further their learning and how well a college prepares them for that next step.

10. Social Activities on Campus

The presence of social activities such as clubs, events and societies are important to many prospective students. The UCLA Survey revealed 44.2% of students stated an institution’s reputation for its social activities was very important when choosing a college to attend.

There are many factors to consider when selecting the right college, but taking the time to consider them all will increase your likelihood of finding the college experience that meets and potentially exceeds your expectations.

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