How do You Pick a College or University?

  • Review the characteristics of the "ideal" college/university that you would like to attend.
  • Using this list as a guide, create a list of about 20 colleges/universities that have many of the characteristics that are important to you. If you are unsure how to select these colleges/universities, ask the advice of your guidance counselor, teachers, parents/guardians, relatives, and friends. You can also search the colleges and universities by searching the internet, attending college fairs, and looking at college guidebooks.
  • Review the characteristics again and select 5 -10 colleges/universities that have most of the characteristics that are important to you.
  • Research information about these colleges/universities. We have listed the contact information for all of the Ventures Scholars Program member institutions on the Ventures Scholars Program website. Speak to the admissions representatives and arrange a meeting to personally meet and speak with them. Use the campus visit checklist.

Checklist for College/University Characteristics

Academic Programs

  • What type of program(s) are you interested in? Do this college/university offer this program? Is it challenging?
  • Does this college/university have a good reputation in this particular area? If you have not selected a major, make sure the college/university can offer you a range of majors and programs.

Campus Life

  • Does this college/university offer the extra-curricular activities that you are interested in?
  • If you are interested in athletic programs, what does this institution offer?
  • If you are affiliated with an ethnic or religious group, is there a group at the campus or in the community that you can join?
  • If you are interested in a fraternity or sorority, are they located at this college/university?
  • If you are interested in living at a dormitory, what does it look like?
  • If you are interested in living off-campus, what are the opportunities?
  • Are you interested in a single gender or co-educational community?

Student Body

  • How many students are in a class?
  • What is the range of academic majors offered at the college/university?


  • Are you interested in an urban, suburban, or rural community?
  • How far from home is the college/university?


  • What type of financial aid packages are offered at the college/university?
  • Are you eligible for scholarships?

Student Diversity

  • Are there ethnic or religious groups that you can join?
  • How diverse is the student population?
  • How diverse is the faculty?

Retention and Graduation Rates

  • What is the retention rate of the freshmen population?
  • How many students remain at the college/university to complete their education?
  • Do they have a career planning center and do they have a job placement program?



© 2006 Ventures In Education, Inc.