Researching Schools

Narrowing The Focus

Attending college can be one of the most important decisions you will ever make.  This is because the overall costs and educational experience you gain will be the building blocks of your adult life.  Picking a school that you can’t afford may be enjoyable for four years, but may just set you up for hardship for the next twenty years thereafter.  So what is considered affordable?  That’s a decision only you can make. 

A general rule of thumb many student loan programs use is they recommend you not borrow more than 60% of your anticipated annual income upon graduating.  Remember the numbers add up very fast and while jobs are not guaranteed, you are expected to begin the loan repayment as soon as you graduate.  Borrowing $20,000 typically would cost the average student $222 a month for 120 months.  Keep this in mind when researching your schools.

Since you are pursuing aspirations to play soccer at the collegiate level, organizing your search, understanding academic and athletic standards, and knowing exactly what options are available to you are a key focus.  Here are some areas to help you with your search:

  • Determine your playing ability by speaking with multiple coaches and players who are now in college.  You also need to decide where you would be content.  Are you ok being a small role player in a big program or do you prefer to be a big role player in a smaller program? This is important so you don’t spend a lot of time researching programs that are really not realistic for you.

  • How far do you want to be from home?  Are there certain areas of the state or country you prefer?  If so focus your search in those areas.  How about the area.  Would you prefer to be in a rural area, urban area or in the heart of the city?

  • Consider the cost of the school, does the price include room and board?  Many schools can be ruled out quickly just on price alone.

  • What size campus would you prefer?  If you are unsure take a weekend to travel around and look at a few that are in the area and will allow you to get a feel for your personal comfort level as it relates to campus size.

  • Do you know what you want to major in?  If you do, and not everyone does, rule out those that don’t offer you’re major.  If you don’t, rule out the ones that don’t offer a broad variety of majors.

  • Do you have a religious affiliation?  If so look at what the schools religious focus is.