Making the right college choice


By Will Khadivi

With the end of the year quickly approaching, most MTHS seniors already have their plans for next year together. When choosing a college, there are huge factors that students and their families must take into account.

Of course, the cost of a college education is the biggest factor for most students. Money plays into anything from the cost of tuition and books to transportation, housing and food.

“Money is a huge factor,” senior Terrah Short said. “I’m currently awaiting my financial aid package. Other than that, I’m probably going to have to do work-study and try to pay my way through college.”

Another factor in choosing the right college is location. Many students may choose schools like the University of Washington for its proximity in the big city of Seattle, while others may like the small-town charm at Washington State University in Pullman.

“I want to be able to be close [to my school] because apartments are expensive and I don’t have a job yet,” senior Jenna Berndt said.

Some students may want to focus more on the campus than on the city that it’s located in.

“I’m going to Washington State University,” senior Brad Koplitz said. “It’s as far away as you can get and still be in-state and their communications program is excellent.”

“It’s a relatively affordable place to live for a college town,” Washington State University professor Ben Shors said. “It’s a small town which means it’s just a college town. Really, everything revolves around the college.”

Interactive: Factors in attending a college

Some students may be willing to spend the extra money and time to attend an out-of-state college.

“We have a lot of different programs that we offer at the university,” Jennifer Parsons, academic counselor at the University of Mississippi said. “We actually offer a pretty attractive package to non-resident students.”

In a survey of MTHS seniors, 29 percent listed the cost of attending college as a factor in their decision. Another 20 percent listed the location of the college as a factor.

When asked to give advice to underclassman about choosing a college, many said to start early and to visit the college before they submit an application.