By this time, you should have received most if not all of your college decisions. Some of you may feel really happy about your decisions while others may feel understandably dejected. Regardless of how you feel, you now need to go forward with the next step of this college process. So after getting over the initial excitement or disappointment of your offers, you have to take the time to decide where you will end up. This decision is not one you can take lightly, so before you declare where you want to spend your next four years, here are some things to consider.
Your Financial Aid Package: The amount of financial aid you can receive from an institution can be the main reason you decide to go to one college over another. When you receive your package, check over the all details to make sure you understand it all. Especially take note of: 1) how much the college is giving you, 2) how are they giving you the support (i.e. scholarships or loans), and 3) how much you are expected to contribute. Misreading your financial aid package could mean missing vital information that could alter your decision. If you discover that your package is inaccurate or less than what you might need, talk immediately to someone from your college’s financial aid office or change your package to something more suitable for you. A bad package can turn a dream school into a nightmare.
Location, Location: Your college may be 20 minutes away or 20 hours away from where you currently live. It is important to determine if you can get used to being far away from home for most of the year. You also have to keep in mind the type of area that surrounds the college. Maybe some of your colleges are in the middle of a bustling city. Others may reside in small quiet towns. If you know you wouldn’t be able to survive going to a school surrounded in an environment you might detest, you may want to location heavily.
Academics and Extracurriculars: You are presumably going to college to learn, so a great way to determine the best college for you is to recheck all the courses they offer. Do any of your colleges provide courses in a field you are extremely interested in? Sure, you may change your major while you are there, but it is nice to see if your colleges can give you options that you can really benefit from. Likewise, checking out the clubs and organizations your schools have may make it easier to narrow it down. Maybe one of your schools has team in a sport that you love playing or want to try out for.
Personality and Catering to Your Needs: Something as important as a school’s academics is the type of people the college attracts. The best way to check this is to go to visit colleges, either on your own or through a visiting weekend the college may hold. If you do this, you may want to consider some questions: Are the professors there people who you truly believe you can learn from? Do the staff seem friendly? Can you connect with your fellow students? Is the college able to take care of your needs whether it is a disability or an food allergy? You do not want to be stuck in a college where you feel uncomfortable or at a disadvantage.
By considering these topics before you choose where to matriculate, you have a greater chance of choosing the best place for you to learn. Even though the college you eventually choose may not be perfect, it may just be the perfect fit for you. Lastly but most importantly, remember to respond to your offers of admission before the deadline!