When thinking about factors and things to consider when deciding on a school, there are obviously lots of criteria to weigh. The one thing that I believe is the biggest factor, is fit. Despite many people use this as a buzzword and downplaying the meaning of it, I believe it is a vital part. The fit of a school can come in many ways though. Whether that is just the feel you had when on campus, the joy it gave your parents, or one small aspect that you love, being in a place that is a good fit can make all of the difference.
Fit can also take the role of your place in the college. For example, if a school isn’t the top overall school academically, but they specialize in your program, and rank towards the top of that, then it would be a great fit. For me, I am majoring in Sports Management and looked at some school with that majors, and others that didn’t have it. I came to the conclusion though, that it was the exact area in which I wanted to pursue, so Iowa was a tremendous fit for me in that way.
A school that fits you well can also come in the form of a friendly campus visit. When I was visiting Iowa, I distinctly remember how happy and friendly everyone was. I would walk by them and they would say “hi” or just a simple, “Go Hawks!” This sense of community made me feel at home and was an aspect that was particularly unique to Iowa City. When I was on the campus of other schools, there were many people walking by with their headphones in and heads down. Immediately, I knew that I didn’t want to become like that, so therefore those weren’t a good community fit for me.
Finally, when choosing a college one thing in particular to focus on is housing, dining, and recreational services. This may seem very basic, but it can play a huge role in your college experience, and especially your freshman year. Living in the dorms has been a fantastic opportunity for me due to the fact that I got to meet a great amount of caring people. To add, since you eat in the dining hall quite a bit, having an excellent dining facility and food (like Iowa does), has been a great attribute for me to have and enjoy. And lastly, with all of the time that classes demand, it is always nice to go to the Campus Recreation Center to blow off some steam and workout or play an intramural sport. So, having excellent facilities and opportunities in those is a nice perk for a school and a large thing to consider when picking a college.
Good luck and Go Hawks!