Once you’ve received all of your college admissions letters and know where you’ve been accepted to multiple schools, you’re probably going to have a lot of people weighing in on where you ultimately should go. Despite the fact that all of them may have great intentions, in the end, you’re going to need to make the decision for yourself. This means that you really need to know what you’re looking for from your college experience. If you’re not sure how to decide, here are five major factors to consider when choosing a college.

  1. The Size of the School

Size is a major factor when you’re choosing a college because the size of a school determines a lot about the culture on campus. Do you want a big school with several athletic teams, lots of Greek life and very large lecture halls, or do you want a small school with a very intimate learning experience where you can get to know your cohorts and professors very personally? Either option can provide a great education and an enjoyable experience, it all just depends on your own preferences.

  1. The Cost of Attendance

Of course, you can attend a school if you can’t afford to pay your tuition. When you receive your acceptance letters, you will notice that the financial aid package you’ve been awarded will break down all of your tuition assistance and exactly what’s leftover for you or your family to pay. You can appeal this award and ask for more assistance, but make sure you take your tuition and your living costs into account.

  1. The Culture on Campus

It’s essential that you know what the culture is like on campus before you decide which college you want to attend. If you’re earning something like Case Western’s social work degree online, then you won’t have to worry about campus culture, but if you are going to be spending four years or more on a particular campus, you should make sure it is a place where you feel safe and accepted.

  1. Things to Do Off Campus

Not only do you want to make sure that you enjoy your time on campus, but you always want to know that there are fun things to do off campus. If there’s not an exciting city to explore at night and on the weekends, then you might start to get very bored and uninspired after a while.

  1. The Distance from Home

The last thing you want to consider is how easy or difficult it will be to travel home over the holidays and summer vacation. The cost of these trips should be something you keep in mind when calculating your cost of attendance. If you’re the type who wants to go home more than two or three times per year, then these costs could really add up. So make sure you know whether you prefer to go some place that’s close to home, or if you prefer to be somewhere very far from home.