My last blog “Seven Things to Think About if Your Senior is Still Deciding” was directed towards students that are still deciding which college to attend in August. You can read it here. I thought about a few more things that a student might factor in to their decision. Here goes:
- Gender ratio-Many colleges strive for a 50-50 gender balance but not all of them achieve it. Typically, the number skews a little heavier towards women, while at schools that focus on stem, there are more men than women. Do some research online to see what the gender balance is at each school and make sure you are comfortable with it.
- Housing-Is there a requirement to live on campus? Does the school guarantee housing all four years or not at all? If you need to live off campus, what is the housing market like? Are the options affordable or expensive and hard to find? This information can help you predict future costs so there are no surprises.
- Four-year graduation & sophomore retention rates-Look online to see how many first-year students return for their sophomore year and how many of these people graduate in four years. Ideally, a cohort that is making timely progress toward finishing in eight semesters will be a peer group that will help you do the same.
- Post-graduation outcomes-Where are the students six months after they finish? Most schools have data on this and you can find out if the graduates are employed or attending graduate school.
- Travel logistics-What is it like to get to and from this school? Is it a manageable ride on a train or several hours to the nearest airport and then two flights home? There are colleges in urban centers that provide multiple options for travel and others (Virginia Tech, St. Lawrence, etc.) that you might need a car to get back and forth. Give some consideration to what that will look like for you.