US universities have just finished sending out acceptances to the class of 2026. As you stare at the offers on hand, you might wonder, now what? This article provides an overview of considerations that students should have when deciding on the best university. Take a look to pick the best school for you!
Note that UPenn and Cornell have not released their overall acceptance rate. UPenn early decision acceptance rate is 15.63% while Cornell’s early decision acceptance rate is 24%.
One consideration is to think about what you want to study. Are you a STEM student interested in engineering or computer science? Are you a business savvy student interested in economics or finance? Or are you a future lawyer or doctor, studying pre-law or pre-med to get ready for the rigorous admissions process in the future? If you have received offers for different programs, you should consider your interests on whether that is the area you want to pursue. If you are uncertain, you should research into the flexibility of switching majors while at college. We have attached a dataset on different degrees’ median income, unemployment rate and percentage of students within the subject area pursuing advanced degrees. This dataset can provide you with some guidance if you are looking to find careers that have higher salaries and job stabilities. However, what’s more important is following your passions.
Some schools also offer a core curriculum. Are you someone who is holistic and is decent at most subjects in high school? That’s something worth considering based on your personal interests, as a evident knowledge gap in a particular area might result in more difficulty in getting a higher GPA.
The overall ranking of the school also matters. If you are debating between two schools that have significantly different rankings, that might imply a difference in teaching quality from the professors, the academic resources on campus, and also recruitment and graduate school outcomes. Although it isn’t a good idea to be blindly chasing rankings, as they change every year, it is worthwhile to consider the implications behind the rankings to see how resources that matter to you the most rank between different schools.
Are you comfortable with living in a quiet suburban area or are you only interested in metropolitan cities? Some universities are attractive because of their location, and that’s definitely the case for schools like Columbia, NYU, Berkeley, Stanford, and USC. All are prestigious schools located in New York, Los Angeles, and the Silicon Valley.
Location is helpful because sometimes when firms offer campus events, it is easier for them to universities in larger cities as they are likely to have offices in those areas. Schools in larger cities also tend to have better recruitment outcomes because it is closer for hiring, for coffee chatting, and for interviewing. You don’t need to take a train for two hours to arrive at the office of the firm to conduct an interview.
Location’s importance might matter less for students interested in graduate school, because resources on campus like research opportunities might be more important than proximity to other locations. Four years in a college town might also mean more tight-knit relationships with peers because everyone will be close to campus. College towns will also be cheaper than metropolitan cities, so you might be able to save a lot of money on food, rent, and everyday expenses by attending university in a smaller city.
A better location definitely offers a premium, but its value varies from student to student!
This following dataset shows some of the most expensive cities to live in the US, featuring housing expenses, good and groceries expenses and recurring costs on a monthly basis as a conservative estimate.
This dataset shows some of the slightly more affordable cities in the US. With universities located in all the cities, it’s worthwhile to consider how much student loans you should borrow and how much you should save in preparation for college!
Hopefully after reading this article, you have a better understanding of where to go for university and what matters most to you when narrowing down your list. If you are interested in learning more about affordable educational resources and get homework help, Kunduz is your go to source!