Choosing a College

More than 500,000 students go to college and graduate school in Massachusetts at more than 100 campuses, both private and public. The Commonwealth offers such a wide range of options—from huge, world-famous research institutions to small liberal arts and specialty colleges—that most students can find a good fit here.


The key is to consider your academic interests, your career goals, and the ways in which you like to spend your free time. In Massachusetts, higher education opportunities are available in bustling cities, in the lovely New England countryside, as well as in suburban settings. Academic offerings run the gamut from accounting, astrophysics, and dance, to linguistics, optometry, and equine studies.


Begin by meeting with a guidance counselor at your high school. Explore AICUM member college profiles here, and be sure to follow the links to college websites and social media pages. Many schools provide online campus tours, but you should also pay particular attention to the admissions pages—these typically have a wealth of information not only about how to gain admission but also about degree programs, financial aid, and student life. Look for blogs by admissions officers and current students for an inside perspective on the college experience.


You should plan to attend a few college fairs, but also ask friends and family members about their experiences in higher education. Finally, draw up a list of what you’re looking for in a school, and once you’ve narrowed down your choices, visit!


The independent school advantage

Massachusetts is the only state in the nation that educates more college students in the private sector than in the public sector. Choosing an independent college or university in Massachusetts provides access not only to a superior education, but to a rich diversity of students, residential campus life, and alumni/ae networks that can provide lifelong benefits after you graduate.


Explore the breadth of offerings at AICUM’s 60 member colleges and universities, and don’t let the sticker price of college deter you from the school of your choice. Massachusetts’ private colleges and universities offer scholarships and grants from their own institutional resources, access to federal and secondary grant and loan programs, work-study opportunities, a variety of tuition payment plans, and other ways to help students pay for college. For more information, see Financial Aid. Also, check out the links below and the information links on other student pages.


Other Helpful Links

American Student Assistance

Campus Tours

The College Board

College Week Live

The Sallie Mae Fund

Your Plan For the Future