College Selection Criteria and Resources

The following factors should be considered in narrowing your focus of colleges to which you plan on applying:


  • Large - More than 8,000 undergraduate students. Typically offer more majors, activities, books in their libraries, computers on campus, and students in each class. Obviously, more students are competing for usage of labs and computers and leadership positions in extra-curricular activities.
  • Medium - Between 3,000 to 8,000 undergraduate students. Offer a combination of small and large school strengths and weaknesses.
  • Small - Less than 3,000 undergraduate students. Usually offer small classes, more personal attention, fewer majors and activities, smaller libraries and computer centers, and greater opportunity for participation in student activities and/or sports.



  • In what area of the country do you want to be?
  • What type of climate do you prefer?
  • Do you want to be in a city, suburb, or small town/rural area?



  • Do you want a campus with a strong Catholic identity?
  • Do you want a campus with liberal or conservative leanings?
  • Do you want your campus to be politically active?
  • Do you want a lot of diversity among the student population?
  • Do you want your campus to be a very friendly place?
  • “Fit” - Do you feel comfortable here?  Will you for four years?


Level of Selectivity

  • You are going to college to be intellectually challenged. Make sure that the students around you are as intelligent as you. Compare your GPA to the average GPA of students at schools you are considering (understand that this is not always reported 100% accurately). 
  • Will the college’s academic reputation help you in the future with graduate school applications and job hunting?
  • Many colleges with names you may not be familiar with are well known in the academic community.



  • If you know what major you want to pursue make sure the colleges you are applying to offer it.
  • If you are undecided apply to colleges that offer a wide variety of classes and plan to take general classes the first two years to help you decide what you would like to pursue. Most colleges do not require you to declare a major until the end of your sophomore year. However, without declaring a major you may be limited in the classes you can sign up for.
  • and offer career interest inventories and descriptions of programs, classes entailed, and careers it leads to for free.