Note: If you missed part one of this series, see Finding Your Perfect College Match: Location.
Universities have a lot to offer, and there are many aspects of the college experience that have to come together in order for you to find your perfect college match. As a high school senior researching potential colleges, finding a match in three main areas will help you make sure you get everything you’re looking for.
Majors and Courses
Not every university offers classes on every subject, so it is important to take a look at the different schools within each university you are considering and make sure they have your intended course of study. For example, while majors like English or Psychology are generally found at every university, more specialized majors like Engineering or Journalism may not be offered everywhere. As important as a university’s prestige, student body size, and social scene are to finding your ideal college, without your major it won’t be your perfect match because, after all, you’re there to learn!
Depending on your personal interests, some universities will be better matches for you than others. For example, if you are a student and an avid sports fan, a university without a large sports program may not be your perfect match. To some people, there is nothing better than waking up early on Football Saturday and heading to the stadium with friends. Others may not be as interested, and instead be more drawn to universities with thriving arts programs. Finding a match in the culture of the university is as important as finding a degree program that suits your academic interests. Even if the major is a perfect match, if you feel uncomfortable with your university culture and the other students around you, you will not feel fulfilled at the end of your time in college if you didn’t feel that you were happy socially.
Universities are hubs for extensive research, which many students take advantage of while enrolled in classes. Professors run research studies throughout the year on many different topics—ranging from medical to psychological to electronics and everything in between—and look for passionate students to join the team. If the research is successful, you may even have a chance to be published in the study as a research assistant. Getting involved in research is a great way to start building your resume early on and gain hands-on experience in your intended field, and for those students who are interested, is an essential part of finding the perfect match.