Newswise — Deciding where to go to college often feels like an overwhelming prospect. Campus size, location, opportunities and amenities — there are endless considerations when determining which school is the best fit. Kim Allen-Stuck, Ph.D., assistant vice president of student success and educational support at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, shares four tips for high school students when selecting their future institution.

1. Value

With many colleges offering financial aid and scholarships, you have to ask yourself if the perceived value of the institution aligns with the out of pocket cost (including loans). Looking ahead: Are there opportunities to participate in a work study, become a resident assistant or participate in a paid co-op to offset expenses? 

2. Location

The best way to determine if a college is right for you is to visit. Do you love to surf? If so, you’re going to want to find a coastal school. Are you interested in politics? Washington D.C. and other large city schools will offer increased opportunities for you to flex your civic muscle. You want to be sure the school’s geography suits your lifestyle.

3. Academics

Does the institution offer majors and programs that appeal to a variety of your interests? Oftentimes students choose a school because it’s well known in a certain area. If “Plan A” does not work out, and the student decides to shift course to pursue another academic program, that may involve transferring to another college and starting all over again. 

4. Community

You need to know who you are and who you want to be. I encourage students to consider whether or not they will find people with similar values at their college, such as social justice, professional development and an international world view. 

It’s so important to find the college that you will want to be affiliated with for the rest of your life. After the four years are over, the college you attend will always be part of your biography.  

A lifelong supporter of student success, Kim Allen-Stuck is available for comment by contacting the Office of Marketing and Communications at [email protected].