5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a College



While there are many factors in choosing a college,  here are five to start with, as suggested  by Martha O’Connell, executive director of Colleges that Change Lives, a Maryland non-profit organization dedicated to assisting students search for colleges:

For the child:
  • Why are you going to college?
  • What are your abilities, strengths and weaknesses?
  • What kind of environment do you think would fit you best?

For the parent:

  • Is your child socially independent or does he or she need warm familial support?
  • What kind of learning community do you think your child would thrive in?

Tenise Wall, an adolescent social worker in Orange County, says look into many colleges and have your young adult make a list of the top five.  Then narrow it down to the most favorite three, or so. Meanwhile encourage your child to send out 3-5 applications.


Tell us about your favorite school! 

“Colleges today,” says Wall, “are raising the bar and what used to be an assumed acceptance is now getting a rejection letter.” In the end, the college you go to may be more chosen by who accepted your application and what financial aid package you receive.

And one last thought. According to Peter Van Buskirk, author of Winning the College Admission Game, while public colleges are affordable opportunities that offer less expensive core curriculum, “The potential to receive financial aid from a state school is less likely because their tuition is already discounted…. you will likely receive need-based financial aide from a private institution.”



Dawn Marie Barhyte is a former educator and widely published freelance writer who resides in Warwick.