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Narrowing Down Your College Search

All the college options can seem daunting. How do you figure out what schools you want to focus on and learn more about? Here are 10 questions to help you decide which schools might be right for you.


1. What size school am I looking for?

A large student population and sprawling campus offers a different experience from a small student body and a cozy campus. Which environment is better suited to you?

Don’t try to take college by yourself. The university is here for you. And that’s the good thing about a small university. They can really focus on you and really plug you in. — Julia Carvalho Correa ’23 | International Business | São José dos Campos, Brazil

2. Do I want to attend a public school or a private school?

An in-state public school might seem like a more affordable option based on sticker price, but a private school could offer more opportunities for connections and financial aid. 

3. Is it important to me to attend a Christian school?

If you find yourself drawn to private colleges, you should consider whether you want to learn in a place that encourages your faith.

Pay attention to who you are when you are looking for colleges. At the end of the day, you’re going to get a degree, but whether or not you grow as a person and really enjoy your time has a lot to do with things outside of the academics that a college has to offer. — Alexis Cole (’22) | Bristol, Virginia | Theology and Ministry
Students at the Parthenon in Nashville, TN

4. Where is the school located?

It could be a big city (like Nashville), somewhere more secluded or a college town where the university is the focal point of the community. Consider your preference.

5. How much does it cost?

You’ll pay tuition and fees anywhere, but the total cost can vary greatly from one school to the next. Factor in opportunities for scholarships and financial aid that could significantly decrease your cost of attendance.


6. Can I get in? What are the admissions requirements?

Colleges have certain standards students must meet to earn acceptance. Learn those standards and think about how your credentials stack up. Some schools only look at your grades and standardized test scores, while others consider the whole person, not just the numbers.

7. Does it have the major I want to study? If I change my mind, will I have options?

Deciding a major is a tough decision. Maybe you’ve always known what you want to do, maybe you have some ideas, or maybe you have no clue. See if a college offers a program that lets you pursue your interests. Remember that lots of options means you can figure it out as you go or have a backup plan if you realize your intended major isn’t what you expected.


8. What can I do on campus?

Look at the extracurricular activities like campus organizations and intramural sports. Is having a team to root for important to you? These opportunities will shape your college experience as much as your classes, so make sure a school offers something that appeals to you.

9. What can I do off campus?

At some point you might need to get out of your dorm room or get off campus for a change of scenery. So what does the city have to offer? Is there shopping and restaurants? Maybe even live music? Or will you have to drive to the next town over for some fun away from school?

10. Will I be able to find a good job after graduating?

College will be the time of your life, but the point is to prepare yourself for life. So ask about job and grad school placement rates, career services, connections to companies and employment opportunities. You should feel confident you’ll see a return on investment when you get your diploma.