6 Things to Consider When Exploring Colleges

6 Things to Consider When Exploring Colleges

  • by
  • Apr 12, 2021
Eastern Oregon University campus in spring

It's never too early to start exploring colleges. With over 4,000 colleges and universities across the U.S. (and 100+ in Oregon), it’s important to think about your own needs and preferences. How a college meets your academic, social, financial, and other needs is what's known as college fit.

Start by considering the following things:

Majors & Programs

What are you interested in doing as a career? What type of degree will you need? What colleges offer the majors or programs that will help you get there?

Actual Cost

Using a combination of savings, financial aid and other income, how will you pay for college? Remember to look at the net price, which is an estimate of what you will actually pay given your specific circumstances. Consider what percentage of students receive financial aid and whether the college will meet full need.

Campus Environment

Do you want to attend a small or large school? Do you want to live on-campus, in your own apartment or at home? Are you interested in attending a religiously-affiliated college, a military academy or a school that serves a specific population?


Do you want a college that is close to home or far away? Do you want to be in a city, in a small town, or somewhere in between?

Extracurriculars & Support Services

What activities, organizations, sports or experiences do you want to participate in? What support services (like tutoring, disability services, or counseling) would you want to take advantage of?

Graduation Rates

What percentage of students are successful in completing a degree?

Originally published November 2017; updated September 2019 & April 2021.