There are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the United States – so how do you narrow down the list and find your best fit?

Where should you begin?

Your first step is having a family discussion on finances and location.

Research colleges that meet your criteria. Of course you want to pick colleges that have your major – but there are many other things to consider. . .

Do you want to go to a public or private institution?

More questions to ask yourself: Do you want a large or small campus? in a rural, suburban, or urban environment? with a liberal or conservative student body?

What weather climate do you prefer? Don’t forget to factor in the distance and cost to travel home for breaks. You can conduct a quick college search to begin gathering this research.

Once you have narrowed down your list, the very best way to know if the school is a good match for you is to visit the campus when school is in session. Take an official tour, visit a classroom, and speak to students and an admissions representative.

Your college counselor is another great resource to give you some suggestions on good programs.

For many students, in-state tuition at a public institution is the most affordable. However, there are several ways to finance a college education. There are many private colleges that meet most financial need. All college websites should have a Net Price Calculator that you can use to see what you might need to spend out of pocket.

Your college will be your new home for four years. The benefit of having 4,800+ colleges in our country is that there are many undiscovered, perfect schools out there just waiting for you to find them. 

About the Author

Renee Ferrerio

Renee Ferrerio has been a counselor in Fulton County School District for the past 19 years and is currently the Department Chair of Counseling at Northview High School in Johns Creek, GA....