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What College Should I Go To? - Take The Quiz

October 09, 2019 · 4 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

What College Should I Go To? - Take The Quiz

NOTE: This quiz is in no way recommending specific colleges or universities (SoFi doesn’t endorse nor are we affiliated with any college or university), but rather the type of college or university that might work with your personality and goals. Above all, this is meant to be a fun tool and a very, very preliminary source of information to supplement your decision-making.

Deciding which college is right for you can be a big decision, and it makes sense to pick one where the college programs, atmosphere, extracurricular activities, and more dovetail with your personality, interests, desired major, and so forth. In this post, we’ll offer some guidance, along with a quiz that might help you to answer this question: Where Should I Go to College?

Brainstorming a Broad List

According to the National Center for Education Statistics , there are currently 4,298 degree-granting postsecondary institutions, ranging anywhere from large public universities to more intimate liberal arts colleges, with a wide range of choices in between.

As a first step, it may make sense to decide which of these, in general, sound most appealing:

•   four-year college or a two-year/vocational option
•   public school or a private college
•   nonprofit college or a for-profit one
•   large university or liberal arts college
•   bustling city or a quiet rural environment

You can use how you feel about each of these to create a list of potential options to explore further, and you can use resources such as to look at options. That site, for example, allows you to browse colleges by state, or majors offered; it includes more than 7,000 choices of “4-year colleges and universities, 2-year community colleges, technical colleges, vocational schools and higher education institutions.”

So, if you know what majors interest you, you can research which colleges might be best. Or, if you know you want to stay in your own state (or know that you don’t!), this can also help to guide you in making your broad list of possibilities. Also, it can’t hurt to ask your school counselor for recommendations. Where have friends and family members gone to college? What are/were their experiences like?

How important are, say, sports for you? This could mean you hope to play sports for a college, or participate in intramural ones. Or, it could mean that you want to attend a college where you can enjoy sports events as part of campus camaraderie.

What hobbies do you hope to continue to pursue? You might, as just one example, want to obtain an engineering degree at a school that will provide opportunities for you to play your violin in an orchestra.

How important is diversity to you? Small class size? For additional help, we’ve created a quiz that allows you to make a series of high-level choices about what type of college might be best for you:

Prioritizing Your Options

Using insights gleaned from making your big list and (maybe) from taking our “What College Should I Go To?” quiz, you may get a better idea of how to prioritize your list. When you do so, you could also consider including choices from each of these three categories; it can make sense to apply to a couple each of:

•   match (or target) schools, ones where your academic qualifications meet what the school has been accepting as an average freshman, or perhaps slightly exceed them
•   reach schools, ones where your academic qualifications are below what the school typically requires for average freshmen; perhaps your leadership skills or extracurriculars will make up the difference and you’ll get accepted
•   safety schools, where you can be fairly confident (or, in some cases, certain) of acceptance

Public Universities vs Private Colleges

Public colleges and universities, in general, have been founded by state governments with the goal being to provide people who lived there with a college education. This began as early as the 1800s and, even today, state governments pay a significant amount of the operational costs of public universities. They also appoint boards for oversight purposes.

Because public funds are used to subsidize education at a public university, up-front tuition prices are typically lower than at private colleges.

Contrast this to private colleges, which rely significantly upon private contributions and student tuition to operate. This means that, in general, up-front tuition prices are higher.

Public universities tend to be bigger in size and scope, offering more degrees than a private college. Private colleges, meanwhile, typically offer fewer choices in majors and may have a focus on specific academic programs.

Class sizes are often larger in public universities, with private colleges typically limiting theirs; this can give students at private college easier access to their professors. As one more consideration, a public university often has more students from the state where it’s located, which can give private colleges more diversity, geographically speaking.

Liberal Arts Colleges

Liberal arts colleges typically focus more on overall intellectual opportunities and growth, with professors wanting to facilitate each student’s ability to know how to learn, as opposed to many degree offerings (public universities) or fewer, perhaps more focused academic programs (private universities).

So, students at these schools typically study a broad scope of subjects, rather than a targeted discipline. A liberal arts college often offers programs of study that don’t require declaring a major. Typically, a liberal arts college has smaller class sizes, too.

Financial Considerations

As you decide which colleges to apply for, you’ll also take into consideration how you can finance your education. What mix of federal student loans, scholarships, grants, or private student loans would you use to finance your dream college? What are the pros and cons of each source of funding?

Want to learn more about scholarships, grants, and student loans? Check out SoFi’s Financial Aid 101 series to find funding options for your college education.

By taking each of these factors into consideration, you can then strategically apply—and then watch for letters from these colleges in the mail!

Private Student Loans at SoFi

In the interests of complete transparency, we believe that you should investigate federal loan options before applying for private student loans.

If you decide to include private student loans in your college funding mix, SoFi offers private loans that help students pay for their education in a fee-free way. You can find your rate in just two minutes in a way that won’t affect your credit score.

Benefits of choosing SoFi include:

•   We make it easy to apply entirely online.
•   You can add a cosigner to your application in just minutes.
•   When we say no fees, we mean no no origination fees, no late fees, no insufficient fund fees. No fees, no fuss.
•   There are multiple flexible repayment options to help you find one that fits your budget.

SoFi offers private student loans for undergraduates, graduates, and parents helping their children pay for their education!

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Lending Corp. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.


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