Finding the right college takes some research. Colleges aren’t just making a decision about you – you are making a decision about them. The first step is to go on a tour of different college campuses. In this way, you can make comparisons. However, if you are just asking about the meal plan and vacations, you aren’t finding out essential information you need to know. After all, you are going to spend four years there! There is a terrific guide to choosing a college – http://nsse.iub.edu/pdf/NSSE_PocketGuide.pdf – by the National Survey of Student Engagement. Here are some questions from the survey that you should ask when on campus. I would ask one more question – “How many faculty members have a Ph.D.?”
How much time do students spend on homework each week?
How much writing and reading are expected?
How often do students discuss ideas in class?
How often do students make class presentations?
How many students work on research projects with faculty?
Are faculty members accessible and supportive?
What type of honors courses, learning communities, and other distinctive programs are offered?
Is a culminating senior year experience required?
Ask these sorts of questions and you’re more likely to choose a college based on what’s truly important, rather than on how many vegan entrees a school cafeteria serves.