We recently posted a poll, asking students why they chose the college they did, and we got a lot of really great feedback! More than 1,000 students nationwide shared their college decision factors, and the results may be surprising!
In today’s economy, with the combination of high college price tags and fewer jobs, I expected to see tuition costs as the number one factor. While this was the case, it was followed closely by other factors, and was, by no means, a landslide victory. This indicates that while tuition and financial aid were large factors for determining college attendance, students still had other priorities when making their college choices. I should also point out that while tuition costs was at the top of the list, financial aid packages came in next to last. This reveals that some students rather search for a college based on a lower total cost, rather than getting the most out of financial aid. So, if you are ruling out pricier colleges, make sure it’s for a good reason; if your top school is too expensive, you can always appeal for more aid, or take out a private student loan to cover the cost.
The other most common factors in the college decision process were proximity to home and friends, as well quality of the academic programs. It seems that many students are still basing their choices on what the college can provide for them academically, while still keeping costs low.
There were also a number of surprising answers popping up in the “other” category. Below are just a few of the not so common reasons for choosing a school…
- Family legacy
- Campus/dorm aesthetics
- Online classes
- School/class size
- Availability of family housing
While we ranked the options in order of popularity, we can’t forget that college decisions include a variety of factors, and students rarely choose a college based on one criterion. Those of you for whom college expense is a high priority may want to check out this helpful college expense worksheet. You can fill in all of the expenses associated with college to get an estimate of how much you can expect to pay during the months you are in school.