February 15, 2023
By Kerry Lynch
One of the hardest decisions to make is the decision about where you will go to college! Students, you probably remember the agony of choosing between two birthday parties on the same day, and parents, you probably remember standing by, trying hard not to decide for them.
Well, a very big decision is looming and we don’t want you to wait until April, after all your colleges have notified you, to start your process.
What can you do now to narrow down your options? And what are the final steps to take? We have an answer to both of these questions.
At this point, you may have several offers of admission. How do you feel about those schools? We suggest that you go back and revisit the websites. Check out specific areas of academic and student life that are important to you and take some quick notes about what you like and what may be missing or not so desirable. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What is unique about this major at this college?
- What courses will I be required to take for my major?
- What other academic requirements will I have to fulfill?
- Are there good student-run organizations in my areas of interest?
- Is the career center active with students?
- What is my cost of attendance and how does that align with my values, limitations and goals for college costs?
- Once you review websites with these questions in mind, rank the schools to which you have been accepted and drop from consideration the schools on the bottom of the list. When you have all your answers, repeat the process and determine your top three.
If you are waiting on a lot of answers, do the research steps above (don’t rank yet) regardless of not knowing if you will be admitted because you will only have a short time to make your decision. This is a good time, when emotions are not high, to make a careful evaluation. When you get your answers, rank the schools to which you have been accepted.
Try to return for a visit or make your first in-person visit to your top three schools to complete your research. Here are a fresh set of questions to ask yourself:
- Can I picture myself here on this campus? Even on a rainy, gloomy day?
- Do these students look like I want to get to know them?
- Is this campus lively enough for me? Too crowded?
And, keep in mind that this, like every other thing related to the college admissions journey, will be different for everyone. This isn’t a time to rush. Take your time and then make the decision when you feel ready (but before May 1st, of course).