There's more to college than just classes, homework, and dorm life. And when picking a college, you'll want to find out what sorts of activities are available for when you need a break from studying your notes, or just feel like doing something different, or to stay in physical shape. Of course, activities can also be related to your academic life, such as a lecture series, or foreign film screenings. What interests you? That's the question. Do you have any hobbies that you'll want to continue at college? If so, are there any student organizations set up to encourage you and others in that hobby? Are you politically active? Whether Democrat, Republican, Socialist, or Green, most political parties have organizations for college students. But not every college has a chapter of every group, and some that do have small chapters that aren't very active. If you're really into politics, you might want to find a college with a thriving political scene. Or maybe you'd prefer to start the thriving political scene. Either way, just as long as you know what you're getting into.
What about religion? If that's important to you, you'll want to know if there's a suitable church or temple near the campus, and if there's a student organization for your religious group. If religion is extremely important to you, you might want to consider attending a college affiliated with your religious group. What about nightlife? Are there things to do, and places to go? If so, how far away are they? Does the college sponsor movies, concerts, comedians, etc., from time to time? And if so, is the entertainment more along the lines of John Tesh and Bill Cosby, or Nine Inch Nails and Dave Chapelle? What about Greek life? Are there fraternities and sororities on campus, and how popular are they? How about intramural sports? Some students couldn't care less about that, but others need a vibrant intramural scene to be happy at college. And many colleges and universities offer all sorts of intramural sports-from volleyball and flag football, to rowing and cycling competitions. Some of these events are even famous themselves, such as the Little 500 bicycle race at Indiana University.
There are all sorts of activities to indulge in at college. You might be pleasantly surprised at some of the clubs and organizations you'll find when you get to campus. But not every school will have every activity that's important to you. So it's best to inquire ahead of time, especially if you're comparing colleges. Don't be fooled by the college's catalog and website. It's not that they're lying, but they have a vested interest in making their campus seem as exciting as possible, and it's easy to get the wrong impression from a few paragraphs and a couple photos. When choosing a college, it's best to visit the campuses personally, and/or talk with several people who've attended or graduated from the schools.