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Choosing a school

How to find a school that fits your interests and preferences.

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Make a plan and hold onto it.


Community college made me believe that I could do it. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth doing is.”

Diana Trujillo Pomerant, Mission Lead, Mars Rover, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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How do you find the right school or program? 

As you build your school list and think about college applications, spend some time on self-reflection. It’s important to understand what you want from your college experience. Do you want to train for a specific job or get a wide-ranging education? If you have a major in mind, are the colleges you’re considering strong in that area?  

Before you apply (and especially before you make final school decisions), look through these key steps to find the right school for you! 

Make a list of what’s important

Although there’s no magic formula for choosing a college, you can start by considering which qualities are most important to you. Here are a few to think about:  

 Think about what you need and value and that will help to narrow your choices.

Do some research

Once you know what your priorities are it’s time to see which schools may be a good fit. School websites offer a ton of helpful information such as programs offered and student life. Many also have resources to help estimate cost and financial aid. You may also learn about housing options, and even take a virtual tour.

Narrow your list

After researching, narrow your list based on type of school and academic offerings. Also consider other things like financial aid packages and schools that meet your wants and needs. 

It is recommended to apply to three to six schools or programs. But remember - quality is better than quantity. Put your best effort into each application.

Visit the schools on your list

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to visit campus. Schedule a campus tour and meet with an advisor to ask your questions.  Visiting the campus is an important step to decide if the college will be a good fit, based on the location, campus environment and resources available.

Types of schools and programs 
Learn more about Types of schools and programs 
Transfer process
Learn more about Transfer process