Megan got a good start on college planning her junior year. As a senior, Megan has heard back from all of the colleges to which she applied. She was accepted at five, rejected at three, and wait-listed at two. Two of her colleges are in-state universities that she applied to “just in case” she did not get into other schools. The other three she has visited and liked them all, but now she has no idea how she will make her final college decision.
The countdown to graduation has begun and many high school seniors would like to delay the college decision process for as long as they can. Realistically, however, they know that they must choose a school and send in a deposit by May 1st.
For some students this may be easy because one school stands out among the rest. For others, there may be two or three schools that could be good options. How do you make that final college decision?
1. Make sure you have all the facts. During their college planning, some students may have heard generalizations about schools but are a little vague on the specific facts. This is the time to get those answers. If students have questions they do not feel were sufficiently answered, call the school and speak with the person who can clarify the situation. Do not hesitate to contact the director of financial aid, a college coach, or an academic advisor. Making your final college decision depends on research and specific information.
2. Consider revisiting the schools. Pick up a newspaper, look at the bulletin boards around campus, and talk with as many different people as you can. Do not hesitate to ask students or professors what they really like about a school and if there is anything they don’t like. Do not make a final college decision based on one person’s opinion, but talking and listening to many people will help you decide whether this is the school for you.
3. Reconsider your priorities. When you were going through the college planning process, what made this school stand out when you initially added it to your list? Do you want a challenging academic experience or one that is balanced between academics and extracurricular activities? If you are interested in music or theater, can you participate if you do not major in one of these areas? Does the school appeal to you because of its name, or do you feel it is really a good fit? Answering these questions honestly will help you make a good college decision.
4. Have a talk with your parents. Throughout your college planning, you and your parents have probably had some discussions about the schools that interested you. They may have some ideas of their own or feel that one college or university is a better choice than another. Listen to what they say, but be prepared to answer questions or concerns they may have about a particular school. They want you to be happy and they know that making your final college decision requires time and thought.
5. Make your final college decision and don’t second guess yourself. Of course you will probably feel some anxiety, but this is normal and expected as you take the final step in the college planning process. If you make the college decision with your head and with your heart, there is no reason to believe that you haven’t chosen the best school for you.