3 answers

What are the most important criteria in narrowing down which colleges you are applying to?

Asked Shoreline, Washington

3 answers

Mark’s Answer

Updated Crete, Illinois

Good afternoon Jasmine,


The most important criteria in choosing the college to apply to is making sure the college is accredited so you do not waste your money. After the accreditation, make sure you have taken a tour of campus, spoken with some students and faculty.

Meridyth’s Answer

Updated Washington, Washington

Hi Jasmine,

This is a great question! There are many different factors to consider when choosing colleges. First, does the college have program of study that you are looking for? Not all colleges have the same programs. While many colleges have many choices, you want the one that you will enjoy and benefit the most from. There may be a specialized school for your interest. For instance, if you are interested in pursuing a career in the fashion industry, you may want to look at schools like the Fashion Institute of Technology or Parsons School of Design. Both of these schools are in NY and have connections to the Fashion Industry.


Distance from home and opportunity of the location are important factors as well. How far away from home do you want to be? Do you want to be a few hours drive? Do you want to be a plane ride? Or do you want to be local? As with my example with FIT, if you are looking for opportunities in certain industries, certain locations should be considered. Another example would be if you are looking to study political science. A school near Washington DC may open up opportunities to you that may not exist in other areas. It's also good to consider where you are comfortable living and how far necessities are like a supermarket or gas station.

Another important factor is financial. How are you going to pay for your education? There are many options to explore in this part of the equation such as student loans, scholarships and work study programs. I would suggest you visit the FAFSA website to research all of these options. Here is the link: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. I would also suggest making an appointment with your guidance counselor to discuss all of your options and questions. Good luck on your search!

Meridyth recommends the following next steps:

  • Visit FAFSA to explore financial options: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa.
  • Make an appointment with your guidance counselor

Marissa’s Answer

Updated Boston, Massachusetts

Hi Jasmine!


Great question! I remember the daunting feeling of college selection process time. One thing to keep in mind is what you would be interested in studying - business, engineering, fine arts, etc.? I think that will be helpful when first narrowing down your search. In addition, you need to determine what type of school you would prefer and in what setting. Do you want a large university, or a small community college? Would you prefer to be right in the heart of the city, or suburbs? Often deciding too if you want to stay close to home or venture further away can play a part. If you prefer warmer or colder climates can also play a factor! You should also consider cost when thinking of schools - how will you be paying - loans, scholarships, etc.? There are some great financial aid resources available to you. I know it sounds cliche, but I was able to chose my school when I visited the campus and got to talk to the students and even sit in for a lecture. I just had that feeling that this is where I wanted to be for 4 years, and I had the best time! It's important to make sure the student body, dorms, and food is something you enjoy, since you'll be there for quite some time!

Marissa recommends the following next steps:

  • Visit FAFSA to explore financial options: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa.