Questions to Ask Yourself when Deciding Where to Apply to College

In Advice
July 26, 2019
4 min read

Questions to Ask Yourself when Deciding Where to Apply to College

If you decide to attend a university, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll be happy and fulfilled at whatever university you choose. Now, how to decide which schools to apply to? There are so many amazing schools, each with their own unique qualities.

There’s a school for everyone. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you discover what yours is.

1. Where in the world do I want to attend school?

Weather may be a factor in where you decide to attend school. Since the US is such a big country, it has every kind of climate you could hope to live in. Did you grow up on the west coast where it’s sunny all the time? Maybe you want to try the northeast to experience your first changing of the seasons.

Proximity to home could be important to you as well. You could feel attached to your family and not want to stray far. Therefore, a university closer to your home, maybe within driving distance, would allow you to go home on the weekends to visit.

Don’t forget that universities are not limited to within the US. There are a ton of amazing universities all around the world. But if you just want to explore them during a semester abroad, no problem.

Melanie Maltz, Florence Italy

2. What size do I want my school to be? 

The size of the school will dictate how many people are in your classes, living in your dorm, and are just walking around campus in general. Do you want to know everyone in your class?

Would you rather just walk around in a sea of people you don’t know? Or would you want a balance of seeing people you know once in a while, whilst always seeing new faces?

If you went to a high school where you knew absolutely everyone in your grade from K through 12, maybe you’ll opt for a school on the larger side so not everyone knows everything about you. If you crave that intimacy that a small school would bring due to being just another face in the crowd in high school, a smaller school might work better for you.


3. Do I want to attend a campus or a city school? 

A city school, like New York University, has its academic buildings interspersed around an area in New York City. If you want to be immersed in a city’s life for college, a city school may appeal to you. It adds a more worldly feel to your college experience.

On the other hand, a campus school is what it sounds like — all of the academic buildings, dorms, dining halls, libraries and so forth are on the same plot of enclosed land. My university, USC, is an enclosed campus. At 9 PM, the campus closes to the public and a student ID is required to get back onto campus if you choose to leave after that time.

4. Are athletics important to me? 

The thrill of getting dressed up in your school’s colors and cheering out of pride is absolutely exhilarating. It’s an experience that I really value in my college experience because of how much fun I have every game day.

If you want to have this experience during your college experience, be sure to research the university’s academic programs. But it may not be for you or may not be important to you at all. It’s all personal preference to help you narrow down your choices.

Virginia Tech Daily

5. Does this school have a program or programs that interest me? 

I’m not saying that you need to know what you want your major to be. Just look through some of the programs that the school offers to see if anything catches your eye immediately.

If not, you may want to think about whether or not this school is the right place for you. School is primarily about academics, after all, though it does also have life-changing experiences socially.


Deciding where to apply is a really fun process. Likely for the first time, you’ll get to figure out what kind of school you want to attend based on how you want your education to look like. It can be scary, but it’s exciting more than anything.

For more college advice, be sure to check out our expert advice tab on our homepage. If you’ve already been accepted and are worried about how your dorm room will look in the fall, our main website has you covered.


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Warby Parker