Completing high school marks a major transition between childhood and adulthood. You have a lot to celebrate, but you also have some very big decisions to make about the direction you want the rest of your life to take. In particular, you must choose whether you want to attend a college or university and if so, which one.

Choosing the wrong college isn’t an irreversible error, but it can waste time and money unnecessarily. Here are some factors you should consider in choosing where to pursue your higher education.

1. Academics

You may not know for sure yet what you want to study, and that’s okay. At this point, you should have a general idea of where your interests lie, and you should choose a school that will give you the most opportunity to explore them. For example, if you’re most interested in liberal arts, you shouldn’t choose a technical college.

2. Geography

Geography refers to where the school is located. Traveling to school is more time-consuming and costly the farther it is from where you live. If you want to make frequent trips home, you should choose a school that is nearby.

Geography also refers to the campus itself. Attractive and intuitive educational campus planning can tell you a lot about the experience you can expect to have there. If the officials don’t care about the aesthetics and functionality of the campus, think about what else they don’t care about.

3. Size

Before you start applying to colleges and universities, you should think about whether you would be more comfortable on a small campus or a large one. Each has strengths and weaknesses, but many students find that they thrive better in one environment than another. If you do not feel comfortable in crowds, a big campus may not be a good fit for you.

4. Costs

The cost to attend a college or university shouldn’t necessarily stop you from applying. However, if you are accepted and decide to go, you will have to figure out how to pay for it. Fortunately, you can turn to a number of sources for help. There are scholarships and grant money available from the government, charitable organizations, and sometimes the school itself. Bear in mind that some universities offer tuition discounts to in-state students. A public university is more affordable than a private one because the state absorbs some of the costs of tuition.

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