5 tips to help you select a school from your offers of admission
If you are a senior who has applied to college for the Fall 2020 enrollment term, this is the time of year when you are evaluating your admission offers and getting ready to commit to a school. Here are 5 tips to help you make your choice:
1) Go with your gut... It is likely that you have visited most of the schools you are considering, or at the very least, the schools that rose to the top of your list. The benefit of campus visits is the opportunity to get that intangible feeling - when you walked around the campus, did you picture yourself there? Did you get excited just thinking about what that school could do for you? Did you leave and find yourself thinking about it again and again? If that voice inside your head keeps reminding you of all of the benefits of a particular school, listen to it.
2) ....IF it is a practical and attainable option. If the financial aid package you were expecting did not come through and you are not prepared to take out loans to cover your cost of attendance, it might not be the best choice. If you love the school but it will take three plane rides to get there, maybe it isn't practical. If you aren't going to easily be able to make it home for holidays or other special occasions that are important to you, maybe you should rethink it as a viable choice.
3) Be honest with yourself about your needs. Hopefully when you were evaluating schools to consider, you thought carefully about what they offer that is consistent with your academic, personal and financial needs. Put aside what anyone else thinks - don't make a decision based on the opinions of your friends, your neighbors, your aunts, uncles, and cousins (unless they are current students or recent graduates and actually have constructive feedback). Don't worry about the public perception, the media, or the rankings. Think about the kind of person and student you are and select the place that will enable you to be your best self.
4) Make a good old-fashioned list of pros and cons. If you are really having trouble narrowing down your choices, think about your priorities and assess the schools against them. Do you need to have quick access to a big city? Do you want a school where most students live in campus housing all four years? Are you likely to graduate in 4 years or is it looking more like 5 or 6? Are you able to conduct research as an undergrad, or do most of those opportunities go to graduate students? Is the school known for helping students gain hands-on experiential learning or are you going to have to work harder to seek out internships or real-world projects on your own? Dig into the details and decide what is important and which school's pros significantly outweigh the cons.
5) Talk to more students and alumni. Get as much first-hand knowledge as you can about these schools. Take advantage of the opportunity to connect with student ambassadors. Read student blogs on the college's admissions website if they have them. Watch student-generated videos on platforms like CampusReel. Consider purchasing one or two of the e-books offered by CollegeScoops to gain insight from parents and students who have been down this path before. Check out college reviews by students on Unigo. The more you get a sense of a school from its students and alumni, the easier it will be for you to determine if you can picture yourself among them.