Starting to Build Your College List

Finding the Right Fit: Questions to Ask during Your College Search

Just like students, all colleges are different. As you are getting to know schools, you'll want to explore how each one fits your personality. Here are a few questions we think are important to consider as you begin your college search. Use them to build your own list of the most important things you are looking for in a college.

Size & Location:

  • How many undergraduates study at this school?
  • Are undergraduate and graduate students in class together?
  • Is the setting urban, suburban, or rural?
  • Close to a big city?

Type of School:

  • Public university or private school vs. Major research university?
  • Religiously affiliated?
  • Liberal arts college?

Academic Programs:

  • Does this school offer a major that I'm interested in?
  • How much flexibility will I have to explore and change majors?


  • What percentage of classes are taught by professors vs. teaching assistants?
  • Are professors available outside of class?
  • What is the student-to-faculty ratio?

Class Sizes & Formats:

  • What is the average class size?
  • Are most classes conducted in a lecture format or seminar format?


  • What opportunities are there to participate in research?
  • How many students conduct research?
  • How does the school help students find research opportunities?

Student Life:

  • Can I continue to be active in extracurricular activities that I enjoyed in high school?
  • Are there new activities that interest me?

Housing & Dining:

  • How are the dining halls?
  • Is housing guaranteed for four years?
  • Are students required to live in residence halls?
  • What types of living arrangements are available in the dorms?


  • What is the athletic culture like?
  • How are the athletic facilities?
  • What levels of involvement are available?


  • What extracurricular opportunities are available in the arts?
  • What facilities are available?
  • Will there be opportunities to perform or showcase my work?

Career Advising:

  • How does this school prepare me to achieve my professional goals?
  • Does the school have an internship program?
  • Do employers recruit on campus?
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