What Is Important When Choosing A College?

Choosing a college just isn't as easy as it use to be. U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review are well known for publishing college rankings that may affect students’ choice of school. But a recent study shows that when the time comes for students to actually choose a college, school rankings, well, rank pretty low on their list.  

choosing a college reasons

In fact, two hundred thousand college freshmen agree that access to careers and college affordability are two of the most important factors when choosing a college – not college rankings. The findings are part of the University of California – Los Angeles’ “The American Freshman” survey of close to 200 thousand first-year students at over 200 U.S. colleges. [1]  Students were asked to rate which factors most determined their decision to enroll in a college or university. The results: college rankings only came in 12th place, trumped by factors like the school’s academic reputation (first place on their list) and whether graduates are able to secure good jobs (in second place).

Not surprisingly, cost is a huge factor in deciding where to go to school. The overall cost of attending college came in fourth place, while being offered financial assistance came in third. And, not to be forgotten, a school’s social reputation ranked at number 6 (because college is about having fun too!)

Top Reasons for Choosing a College

Here’s a list of the top ten factors (from most to least important) that influenced over 200 thousand college freshman in choosing their schools [2] – and how eLearners.com can help you during your own selection process:  

  1. “College has very good academic reputation”
  2. “This college's graduates get good jobs”
  3. “I was offered financial assistance”
  4. “The cost of attending this college”
  5. “A visit to this campus”
  6. College has a good reputation for its social activities
  7. Wanted to go to a college about this size
  8. College's grads get into top grad/professional schools
  9. The percentage of students that graduate from this college
  10. I wanted to live near home

While college rankings by respected publications should never be dismissed, they certainly shouldn’t be the only factor in your decision making process. Selecting the right college is one of the most important choices you’ll ever make, and your decision should be comprehensive: does a school meet your academic, financial, social, and other personal needs? If so, then it could be the right school for you – even if it isn’t at the top of a college rankings list.  You also might want to consider learning at your own pace via self paced online colleges!

[1] heri.ucla.edu/pr-display.php?prQry=111 | [2] news.yahoo.com/freshmen-students-rankings-arent-key-factor-college-choice-162651250.html


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