A college’s academic offerings and resources can help you determine the school you want to attend.

From class size to library size, there are loads of aspects to consider when deciding what your criteria are for college academics. Before deciding the schools where you will apply, consider your academic preferences and what you expect from your college experience!

Class Size

The size of college classes is an important academic factor,  but understand that the ideal class size varies from one student to the next. Some people prefer small college classes which allow them to interact more closely with their peers and teachers. Other students prefer large lecture-style classes which are bound to place less emphasis on class participation.

While smaller classes will allow you to get more face time with your professors, they also can be taxing on shy students who prefer to avoid having class participation count toward their grade. Plus, if you skip a class or two (not that you ever would!), your professor is more likely to notice in a small class.

Electives vs. Strict Curriculum

Some US schools have more streamlined college academic programs, where students follow a strict curriculum in pursuit of their major degree. Other colleges allow students to be more experimental with their academic classes, taking a wider variety of courses and electives. These two types of college curriculum each have their advantages.

If you think you would prefer the structure offered by a strict academic college curriculum and you already know what degree you plan to pursue, you may benefit from applying to schools with strictly streamlined degree-oriented college programs.

However, if you’re unsure what degree you’d like to pursue and want the academic freedom to try many different things, look for a college that offers plenty of electives and permits students to experiment scholastically before choosing a major.

Academic Resources

Another aspect to consider when applying is the college’s available academic resources. Do you need or want a big library at your disposal? Does the college have a high-tech language lab? Are you interested in having access to an arts lab or photography studio?

These are some of the things you may want from a school. If you know you need to go to a school that has a top-notch biology lab, for example, make sure you include this in your college academics criteria when deciding where to apply.

Decide What is Important to You

The most important point to remember when considering college academics is that you need to figure out what is right for you. What are your needs, wants, and preferences? The above points should give you some pointers about aspects to consider, but only you can determine what combination of college academics characteristics is best for you.