Choosing a College Based on Extracurriculars? Bigger is Better!

Washington Post college guru Jay Matthews writes that college-bound seniors should devote more attention to the extracurriculars offered by colleges they're considering.

"When area high school juniors embark this summer on college hunts with their families, they should devote more thought to where their future passions might lie," he writes. "Students who have explored this less-discussed facet of college life say it is best to look for campuses that offer wide-open opportunities in their area of interest."

It's good advice.

The easiest way to find a college with "wide-open opportunities" in a wide variety of areas also turns out, quite conveniently, to be one of the most affordable options: skip the fancy, $50,000 per year liberal arts colleges and attend a large public university. Sorry, but no college with 2,000 students can compete with the breadth of extracurriculars available at a large university.

Rest assured: pick a big enough college and you'll find plenty of activities -- and a diversity of students with a wide range of interests.

Bottom-line: If you want a great college experience with a wide range of extracurricular activities, skip the cross-country college tour of small liberal arts colleges and opt for that closer to home public university. It'll save you money too.