As an 18-year-old, there are few choices more daunting and difficult than choosing the place you will spend the next four years of your life and the academic area that will pave your future. At least, this is how our young students see it.
It is important as parents that we help guide our students to the school and campus that will serve them well academically, physically, and emotionally. Of course, there are many factors to take into consideration when choosing the right college.
You want to consider the academic reputation, what majors are offered, the size of the school, the class sizes, how far the school is from home, what non-academic activities are offered, sports programs, dorm life, and much more. But, even with all of that in mind, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what school is the right choice for your student.
Consider these less obvious factors when helping your young student choose the right college for their academic and living needs.
Taking a close look into the public transit of the cities your son or daughter is considering can be a great step to finding the right fit school and city. A student must take into consideration many things involving transportation for college. What are the living requirements of the campus your child is interested in? Many smaller private colleges require students to live on campus for at least two years.
Other schools do not have a dorm requirement, allowing students to live off-campus whenever they please. If you and your student are considering living on campus without a car, it is important to look into city public transportation. Part of the learning experience you gain from going away for college is learning a new city completely on your own terms.
Make sure that your student can access public transportation from campus easily if that is the mode of transportation you plan to use. Many great cities are set up as public transportation hubs and many are not. Be sure that you take this into consideration when choosing the school and city that are the best fit for you and your student’s needs.
The City’s Food Style
While this may sound like a silly criterion to consider with such an important decision to make, your diet makes up an important portion of your fit for a place. If your student is considering several schools that are far away from home, be sure to explore the styles of food that are and are not available in the cities at hand. As trite as it may sound, if your student can’t find any food that they like to eat in the city they live, their college experience may be a challenging one.
If your student knows that they don’t like southern food, it might not be the best idea to pursue a college in the South. Of course, most colleges will have a variety of food styles and cultures to offer, but this can still be an important thing to keep in mind. For students who are vegan or vegetarian, you should help them explore their eating options both on campus and off of campus.
There are many schools that cater very well to students with diet restrictions and there are many that are yet to catch up with this trend. You and your student should be sure that there are plenty of restaurants and markets in the cities you are considering that sell vegetarian, vegan, or other specialty diet needs.
Seasonal Allergy Statistics
Another important thing to consider when choosing the right college is your child’s seasonal allergies. There are some areas of the U.S. that have more severe allergy symptoms than other areas. If your child suffers from severe seasonal allergies and/or asthma looking at the allergy and asthma statistics for the cities you are considering is a very wise choice.
The Asthma and Allergies Foundation of America (AAFA) releases a list of the top 100 allergy capitals in the United States each year. This list can help you determine if the city your student is looking at for their school of choice will be a breathing and health nightmare for them.
By educating yourself and your student on the more common health threats of the areas they are considering for college, you can all make a better and more educated decision about what school and city is the best fit for you.
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