You'll study. You'll learn. You'll prepare for your future career. But when you're not doing that stuff, there are thousands of other things you'll want to do on campus. Here are ten things to consider about life outside the classroom.


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1Leadership roles.

Student government and other campus groups allow students to make real decisions and influence campus life. Find out how you can get involved.

2Performance opportunities.
Do you act, sing, or play an instrument? Look for theatre groups, choirs, or instrumental ensembles that fit your style. At a smaller school, you'll have a better chance to star in the show; at a big school, you may stand on an impressive stage.

3Playing sports.
Small colleges have more opportunities to join the team. Some have more specialized sports, like disc golf, equestrian, or curling. Find out your chances of making the team or leading it.

4Supporting the team.
At larger schools, sports are often more competitive, and it can be harder for students to make the team. But these schools might also have a fiercely active fan base and play on the national stage. You may not know anyone on the team personally, but you'll still be part of the crowd.

5Going Greek.
Want to join a fraternity or sorority? Greek life is the cornerstone of social activity on some campuses and nonexistent on others. Ask a current student about the importance of Greek life.

6Staying fit.
Are you lost without your elliptical? Only feel at home in a weight room? Fitness facilities vary greatly at colleges of all sizes. If you'll be using them, make sure they meet your needs.

7Spiritual life.
Many private colleges have a specific church affiliation, but nearly all of them welcome students of all faiths and offer campus groups and worship services for everyone.

8Residence life.
You'll be busy during your college years, but you'll have to sleep eventually. Ask if you'll have roommates. Wi-Fi. Laundry facilities. Are the rooms comfy? Are there any unique housing options? See how you'll live for the next four years.

You'll eat a lot of meals in four years. Find out if you'll have to purchase a dining plan. See if you'll have access to options outside of the dining hall, like coffee bars or sandwich shops. And most importantly, stop by for lunch and check out the food for yourself.

10School spirit.
College traditions often take the form of distinctive annual events. Ask around—you'll probably find surprising (and occasionally bizarre) traditions that will create your most cherished memories.