You’ve done all the hard work and now it’s paying off. After focusing on your studies, participating in extra-curricular activities and filling out ALL those applications, acceptance letters are hitting your mailbox and your seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
So now what do you do? Making a college choice that is right for you can be difficult. But, don’t stress about picking the perfect college. The bottom line is that college is what you make of it: What you do while you’re there matters more than the college name on your diploma. Here are some things to consider when making your final decision.
Get More Information:
You already have a lot of information about each college you applied to, but digging a little deeper can help you make the best choice for you. Create a list of any questions you still have about the colleges you’re considering. A few questions to consider are:
- How many students return after freshman year? How many graduate?
- Does the college offer a lot of majors I’m interested in?
- What can I do for fun?
- What kinds of students feel at home at this college?
As you search for answers, it’s important to use only trustworthy sources of information and to recognize the difference between fact and opinion. A college’s official website and its admission officers are often the best sources of factual information about that college.
Visit — or revisit — the campuses:
If possible, revisit the campuses of the colleges you are considering. Walk around and get a sense for how you feel on each campus and decide if you can see yourself happily living there. Does the campus match your “must-haves” and do you see yourself successful there.
Compare the colleges:
Make a list of the pros and cons for each college. Compare them side by side and see which is the best fit for you.
Compare financial aid awards:
Funding for college is a big consideration for choosing the college that is right for you. Talk to your family about which colleges work best financially. Take time to understand all your options in paying for your education such as scholarships, student loans, work-study program, or access to jobs.
Watch deadlines for reply responses:
You don’t have to decide overnight. Many colleges don’t expect your final decision until May 1, so you have some time to make up your mind. But remember that colleges are serious about reply deadlines. If you don’t send your deposit in time, you risk losing your place.
Once you’ve decided which college you want to attend, inform all the colleges that accepted you about your decision. Send them a brief note to thank them and turn down their offer. This frees up places for other students.
Choosing a college that is right for you is a big decision. Congratulations on all your accomplishments and good luck on your decision. You got this!