We all have our pre-conceived ideas about college and higher education. While you may think you know the most important factors in a student’s college choice, you may be surprised by the data. So, what do students today really want out of a college or university? Read on to find out!

According to the World University Rankings and a survey carried out of more than 60,000 students all over the world, the top two reasons for choosing a particular college or university was based on the quality of teaching as well as the availability of additional scholarships.

MEANING: Students want to learn, they want to grow and the vast majority want to get a high quality education, all while not going into a massive amount of debt in the process. Makes sense right?

What else are students looking for as they search for the right college fit?

Personal interaction: When a student comes onto a campus, they not only want to get of feel of the physical space, but of the culture of the university as well. Interacting with faculty, staff, and current students can help them get a better sense of what going to this institution would be like and could go a long way in their decision making process. It’s crucial that their on campus visit happens on a normal day as well (not gameday or a special trip on campus), so they get the most accurate picture of what it would be like to attend a particular school.

Rankings actually rank pretty low on the list: Although this may seem backwards, most college students today only look at college rankings after they’ve narrowed down their choices. The biggest influences come from their on campus interactions with faculty, staff, alumni and current students.

Program Offerings and Reputation are big: The academic offerings and the academic reputation of a university are key factors in a student’s college choice as well. When a student graduates, they want to be able to say with pride where their degree came from. They want to be legitimized by their college choice as well as being able to pick a more specific area of study that they are interested in. Post-college life is also a big factor. Does this school lead to great internships, connections, and a possible job? These are important factors – maybe even the most important! 

Finding the right college fit can be a challenge, so we wanted to make a resource for you to make it much easier. You can check out our free video series, filled with college choice tips, right here.