1. Visit the school in two separate aspects.
It is so important you see the schools' campus and get the overall feeling as well as go out and experience what weekends are like there. Leave no room for surprise when you come to campus to start!
2. Look at the students while you visit
Look around and notice the students who currently attend the university. Do the people you see appear like people you think you would get along with? Make sure to observe your surroundings!
3. Do you want a school with a heavy Greek Life?
This is HUGE! It is so important to think about how much you want greek life to affect your college career. If you don't plan on rushing, you are probably better off going to a school with not such a huge emphasize on sororties and fraternities.
4. How big do you want your school?
Make sure you think about this in the aspect of number of students and the actual size of the campus. Some people fit better in a school that has only a couple thousand, while others thrive at a huge campus. Do you want to walk 20 minutes to class or would you prefer a smaller campus? These are all questions you must ask yourself.
5. Warm or cold?
If you plan on going to school in the Midwest but know you won’t leave your dorm if its below freezing, you should probably reevaluate your decision. If you are not able to handle the cold – go somewhere warm! You will thank yourself when the winter months come around. If you love the cold and don't mind bundling up in Uggs, parkas, hats, gloves and many more layers then don’t let the weather stop you from your decision!
6. Do you want to go to a school where you will know people?
Some people find it comforting to go to a school where they know a lot of their friends are going to as well, or know people currently attending. If you get homesick easily, it is nice to see a familiar face to make you feel more comfortable. However, some people graduate high school and want to run and never look back! Whatever you would prefer, make sure your school reflects that decision.
7. Is your major good there?
If you are going into college knowing what you are going to study, check to see how your major is ranked at your school! If you did not get direct admit to the specific major, think about the likelihood of getting in while applying again, in a year or so. If you do not think you will be able to transfer into the major after you finish a year or two at the school, it is best to look at other options.
8. Plane ride or Car ride away?
This makes all the difference in the world!!! If you are a plane ride away, it is way harder to go home for random weekends, even holidays! Being a car ride away from your home ensures that you will be able to get home and back to school at any given time. Your family will also be able to visit more often if they just must hop in the car for a few hours instead of book plane tickets. If you can go without random weekends back home, then you should be fine being so far away.
9. Freshman Dorms
This may seem weird, but the location of freshman dorms can change so much! Overall, it probably will not impact your whole experience it can affect things from time to time. If your dorms are all so spread out, it will be harder to hang out with your new friends whenever you want. Also, the actual dorm itself is important! Make sure you try and get the dorm of your choice, if not, it is not the end of the world!
10. Will you have to stay there in the summer?
Some schools allow a student to stay the summer to receive in state tuition the following year. If you are interested in a school that allows this, and you know your parents will make you do so – really consider if you would be okay with that. If you are fine with limited access to your home for a year, then you should be okay. However, if you know that you will hate seeing all your high school friends return home for the summer without you, maybe you should check out other schools.