Choosing a School

If you’ve decided to go to school to learn more about the hospitality industry, you still have some big decisions to make. Choosing a college is no small matter. As you narrow down your hospitality career choices and academic preferences, keep some of these factors in mind.

Degree Sought

Remember that hospitality careers have various training requirements. Depending on the job you hope to secure, you might be fine earning an associate’s degree, or you could be better off pursuing a bachelor’s degree (or even a master’s) if you hope to work in a position in management or one that comes with considerable responsibility.

Do your research about the degrees a school offers early. If the school you are considering doesn’t have the degree for which you’re hoping, and you can’t find a reasonable alternative at the same institution, it might be a mistake to apply there. There are a variety of college directories online, which help simplify the search process by listing many schools on one convenient website.

Academic Particulars

Size is another factor to consider when choosing a school. Are you comfortable with a big university or would something a little smaller, with lower student-teacher ratios, be more to your liking? Bigger isn’t always better. “It is not the number of people, but the people themselves and the kind of community in which you learn that really matters,” wrote Martha O’Connell, the 2007 director of the organization Colleges That Change Lives, in an article for National Public Radio (NPR).


Are you happy in a big city? Can’t stand a lot of hot weather? Do you long to live in a place where you can go skiing? Finding the right location is a big part of finding the right school. If the level of education you want will take a while to obtain, it’s important to know that you’ll be happy where you are living.


Postsecondary training can be expensive. If finances are a big factor in your decision, do the arithmetic to see what will be the best move for you to make. Be sure you consider more than the academic-related expenses like tuition and books. For instance, if you are thinking about moving away to attend school, you’ll also need to add cost of living expenses into your total.

Does it fit?

“The most important factor in choosing a college is fit,” O’Connell wrote. Find the school that will give you the experience you want. Look into student life and the sense of community on campus. Visit the school if you can, or find a way to talk to other students. Often, the truest words you’ll hear about a school are from those currently in attendance there.

Additional Information on How to Choose a Hospitality Program

Last Updated: 05/23/2014


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