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How to Choose the Right College

The front of UW with a healthy layer of snow
College is a commitment, so it's important to find the right one for you.

There are many factors to think about when you are trying to find a college that is the right fit for you. A lot of times, students have one or two check boxes that they absolutely have to have filled, in order to choose a school.

Ask questions

There are several things that you should consider when choosing a school. What kind of degrees and programs does this school have? How big is the school, and is it affordable? How is the sports program? What kind of lifestyles does that location offer? Making a hasty decision can really leave some questions unanswered.

Most people, and certainly your parents, will tell you that the most important thing to consider is the education aspect of the decision. You absolutely need to make sure that the school you are considering has the degree that you are wanting to pursue. Here is a list of the degrees that UW offers.

Another thing to consider when thinking about the education aspect is what kind of facilities will be available. The Engineering Education and Research Building is an example of the upgrades that UW has made in previous years to improve the quality of its programs.

Three students in Makerspace located in the EERB

Can I afford this?

There’s a good chance that your next biggest concern is how you’re going to pay for college. You hear nightmare stories from graduates who have piles of student debt. In certain situations, some debt may be unavoidable, but it’s definitely worth comparing tuition at different schools.

UW is one of the most affordable universities in the west. Fifty-five percent of students graduate from here with no debt. The out-of-state tuition rates at UW are nearly half of comparable regional universities nonresident tuition rates. And for Wyoming residents, the Hathaway Scholarship and others make paying for college extremely affordable.

How big of a school are you looking for? Something like Ohio State’s 60,000 students would be overwhelming to many kids straight out of high school, but a community college may not be big enough. Would you rather have classes with 20-30 students or go to class in a lecture hall with hundreds of kids that you don’t know?

What can I do on campus?

The way you learn and the way you interact with other students is going to play a huge role in your success at college. If it isn’t the right fit, making friends and being comfortable around campus can be very tough.

Maybe you are one of those sports nuts that would like nothing more than to go to a school with an awesome sports program. Imagine being one of these people for a year at school with no winning sports programs.

UW and the donors around the state do their best to ensure that the sports programs are set up for success. Recent donations have made projects like remodeling the Arena Auditorium and building cutting-edge training facilities possible.

Student cheering on football team
The kind of lifestyle you want to live is also a huge factor. Some 18-year-old college kids will settle for nothing less than the best possible city and night life. You can find schools that range from the hustle of New York City to living on a campus that is also a beach. You can really cater your college experience to your particular lifestyle if that is one of your valued checkboxes.

UW has its own unique lifestyle to offer. Campus is just a 45-minute drive from camping, fishing and hunting. You can see the Snowy Range from Laramie, and Vedauwoo is just a short trip. Having outdoors activities like skiing or snowboarding so accessible is a luxury that not many college students experience.

Students sitting around campfire
Another thing to consider is the size of the town or city that you will be living in. Laramie definitely has a small-town feel, but it’s not super isolated. The Denver area is just two hours away, along with Denver International Airport.

Finding the school that is the right fit is really going to affect how successful your college experience will be. Good luck with the decision!


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