It is getting closer and closer until you take those college road trips and making final decisions before applying to schools! Do not be afraid, because college is not going to be only the hardest time of your life, but one of the greatest times! So set yourself up for success by picking the right college for you! So when you have a few colleges on your list you like for their academics, start looking for other factors in your college experience.
The first thing to do is look at the town that it is in. People say that this does not matter too much, and depending on who you are maybe this is true. However, you are going to be living in this town. I had a huge culture shock after moving to my college town only three hours away from my hometown, so it best to look at the area. There is also the fact that some campuses are far away from the town, making it hard to go out for a night of fun or for groceries when the dining halls are not going to cut it!
The second thing to look at the possible ability and places to keep a car with you. I thought since my campus was so small, and made to be a walking campus that I would never truly need a car. When I realized how much effort it was to get off campus, however, I realized I really wanted to bring my car just to get away from the town. It is surprising how trapped you can feel in such a beautiful fun environment of campus and college town life! So just make a note of it, you will be glad that you do!
If you are going to stay in the dorms, you need to check them out! If you can physically go during the school year or talk with one of the students that is the best way to see how you are going to be living next year! It really is an important part of your life, seeing as that will be your home. So make sure this is a space where you can study, sleep easy, and party hard as needed.
One of the more important things that often get overlooked is the fact of how easy it is for you to find a spot outside of your dorm to hang out or study. You are about to be a part of the biggest group of youth (who are statistically more likely to do stupid things, FYI), and people tend to treat everyone from campus like the worst statistic. So it might be hard to just go for a walk at night with friends or even alone due to campus police or other people your age just messing around. You might need a place to study quietly or to go for the ever possible ‘sexexile’ by your roommate. Study halls, music rooms, lounges, and really anything you can find are something to think about before picking your college.
Now while these things are important to make sure your college fits you academically first. That is the whole reason you are going, right? You are here to learn, and I promise that every college will have every party scene, from low-key hangouts with friends in the dorms to full out parties with the frats. So think of this as comforts and not necessities, but do not forget to look at comforts to help pick which college is right for you!