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Most overlooked factors in college choice

ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,728 Senior Member
What are the most overlooked factors in college choice (either in making the application list, or deciding where to matriculate)?

Some possibilities:

* (When making the application list) Cost considerations, since it appears that many do not consider them at all, or use assumptions about them that may not necessarily be correct.

* Whether intended or possible majors have a secondary admission process to get into after enrolling, or have a progression requirement to stay in the major beyond good academic standing and passing the major courses.

* (For pre-med and pre-law hopefuls) How much grade inflation there is relative to admission selectivity.

* Graduation rates counted by tuition-paying semesters, relative to admission selectivity and choice of major, to remove confounding selection effects and effects of co-ops and gap semesters. (Granted, comparable information on this may be hard to find; widely available raw graduation rates are much less useful because the effect of admission selectivity tends to dominate other factors in raw graduation rates.)

* (For community colleges as transfer preparation) How well each community college covers the frosh/soph course work for the intended major at the target four year schools.

Replies to: Most overlooked factors in college choice

  • BooBooBearBooBooBear Registered User Posts: 389 Member
    Class sizes and offerings for their major as well as likely distribution/core requirements.

    You can go to most schools’ websites and find the Schedule of Classes for several semesters, and most of these will show class enrollments. A little digging may reveal surprises. The overall ratios in the common data sets do not really tell you much, whereas discovering that your major at School A averages 50 students per class whereas School B the classes are capped at 25, or how many sections of Honors classes you might want to take are really being offered.
  • LeastComplicatedLeastComplicated Registered User Posts: 1,039 Senior Member
    Availability of a range of majors/areas of study that the student might be interested in (if the student is undecided or not fully committed to a major).

    Housing options and requirements.

    Whether the student would really be comfortable being far from home, or not living at home (my opinion from reading the College Life discussion threads).

    Actual chances of being admitted.

  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG Registered User Posts: 850 Member
    edited January 2018
    I read the strategic plans. It takes 4 or 5 years to get through college. I want to know what direction the school's administration is headed. What priorities have they identified? How do they plan to achieve their goals? Is my student likely to benefit from stated objectives?
  • ccprofandmomof2ccprofandmomof2 Registered User Posts: 492 Member
    Whether the impressive faculty you hope to work with are actually there or are frequently elsewhere doing research. This is much more of a concern for grad students, but can be a major issue in prestigious grad programs.
  • HellofagalHellofagal Registered User Posts: 151 Junior Member
    Ease of getting into desired classes.

    A timely tongue in cheek piece from the Crimson on this topic:


  • HapworthHapworth Registered User Posts: 484 Member
    edited January 2018
    How many students are gainfully employed after graduation *in jobs that require a college degree.* Every college/university loves to boast about its 90+% rate for students who are employed, in graduate school, or working in service, but if a student gets a job waiting tables, that counts in the 90% rate usually.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,728 Senior Member
    Hapworth wrote:
    How many students are gainfully employed after graduation *in jobs that require a college degree.* Every college/university loves to boast about its 90+% rate for students who are employed, in graduate school, or working in service, but if a student gets a job waiting tables, that counts in the 90% rate usually.

    Unfortunately, relatively few colleges show career survey results by major, and those that do may not report the survey data the same way, so making comparisons across colleges can be difficult. However, what information there is available suggests that major is a big factor, since major-specific job markets vary considerably between different majors.
  • isthisborealisthisboreal Registered User Posts: 86 Junior Member
    edited February 2018
    Ability to switch out of a major once you enter the college. At Northeastern for double majors in CS + another subject (this likely applies to other double majors at NU as well) once you start college there you can't switch out of your major. So I was accepted into NU as a CS+Linguistics major, so if I went to NU I could change my Linguistics major to something else, but wouldn't be able to change my CS major.
  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Forum Champion Northeastern, Forum Champion Math/Computer Science Posts: 3,998 Forum Champion
    edited February 2018

    I'm not sure where you heard that, but at Northeastern you can change colleges/majors pretty easily. You can change into CS, or into linguistics, or into another college entirely not either major! Of course that ability varies by school, but generally, privates tend to be more flexible.
  • labrad00dlelabrad00dle Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    1.Not only ease with which one can register for classes, but how often the classes are available during the course of each year of attendance, and number of sections offered in given semester. Are students guaranteed they will be able to register for required classes in a timely manner in order to graduate in four years?
    2. How difficult is it to get into the most popular classes?
    3. Active Greek life culture associated with the school vs. little to no Greek life. Folks can underestimate how important this can be for those who unknowingly don't want to be in a Greek life dominant environment.
    4. Opportunities for research, and ease with which to acquire these opportunities in desired program.
    5. For those interested in Graduate School, track record for placing students in desired programs in their field.
    6. How many transfer credits will the institution allow from other schools (community college, etc., by correspondence with another college) before and during matriculation.
    7. AP credits. Which ones will they accept? Is there a limit to how many they will accept?
    8. Is there a Drop/Add period where tuition is refundable if classes are dropped early in the semester by a specific date?
    9. Quality of and accessibility to student health services on campus.
    10. On campus banking, if that's important or necessary for the student/family. ETC....
  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan Registered User Posts: 12,682 Senior Member
    The quality of the career services office and career/grad school advising in general.
  • circuitridercircuitrider Registered User Posts: 3,308 Senior Member
    Forced mid-year matriculations (Jan and Feb admissions.)
This discussion has been closed.