May 1 is National College Decision Day, and it’s swiftly approaching. Here are five tips to help you make your final selection a bit easier.
REVIEW YOUR LIST
In the beginning of your college application process, you were attracted to certain schools for particular reasons. Review your list of schools to see if these reasons still hold true and if they’re as important now as they were when you initially applied. Has anything changed? Which institutions still meet your criteria?
If at all possible, visit the schools you’re considering; even if you’ve already visited the campus, visit again. (If an in-person visit isn’t feasible, take a virtual tour online.) Eat in the dining hall, sit in on a few classes, attend an event on campus, and spend a night in a dormitory or residence hall, preferably rooming with a current student. Many institutions offer specific programs and events for admitted students to take advantage of. Not only are these additional ways to learn more about the college, it’s also a chance for you to see if you can envision yourself as a member of the next incoming class.
Take into consideration finances, academics, and social/environmental factors when determining the best fit. Carefully review your financial aid package and decide what you can and cannot afford to pay. Academics and types of majors/degrees offered are important, but the location, atmosphere, and social environment of the institution will also play a vital role. Does the college “check” all of your boxes, or are there some areas in which you would have to “settle”?
Visit the college website and sign up for news feeds about the institution. For valuable information regarding the school’s social environment/campus atmosphere, check out the blogs of current students and the Facebook and Twitter feeds of admitted students.
GO WITH YOUR INSTINCT
Keep in mind that you can be successful at more than one college. Your experience will be determined by your effort and by what you make of the opportunities presented to you and those you create on your own. Your friends and family members will have an opinion about where you should go to school, but ultimately the decision is yours. The next four years of your life will be spent on a college campus. Go with your gut and choose the institution not just where you’ve been accepted, but where you will be happy, challenged, and able to make a valued contribution.