Choose The Right School

Written by admin on August 12th, 2011

Now that the admission committees have handed you their decisions, it is time for you to choose which college to attend. For some, this choice is easy. Maybe you were admitted early decision or have a clear first choice. For others, the decision is more difficult. Perhaps you have not visited many of the schools on your list, maybe you and your parents disagree about what is best for your future, or perhaps you just can’t seem to figure out what you want.
No matter the reason, you must decide by the May 1st reply date. What should you do?

Are you choosing between two schools or several? Have you narrowed down your choices? Are you comparing financial aid packages? Are you trying to get taken off a wait list at a school? What are the factors that you will use to make your decision?

Now that you know what your options are, it is time to begin or continue your research. Hopefully you already know why each school is on your list. Review what you have learned and continue to learn about the schools. What are you looking for? What does each school offer? Consider how each school matches your interests: academic, extracurricular, social, and otherwise. Use the schools websites, talk to friends, e-mail professors, visit the campuses. Have discussions with your family and others you trust.
If you have not already visited the schools on your list, now is the time. One college applicant, Scott, visited the schools on his list only after he received his acceptance letters. Doing so gave him a new perspective on his choices: I had applied to the University of Wisconsin-Madison on my counselor’s recommendation. I didn’t really think I would ever go there because it was so far away from home and I always thought of Wisconsin as a place of pastures and cows. But when I visited, I felt at home. The students were friendly, the classes were tough, and I had no idea Madison had such a fun night life.

We’ve been through the rational decision-making processes like making pro and con lists and prioritizing. However, intuition is often our best guide. Adam, now a few years out of college, recently said, I don’t know why exactly I chose Georgetown, but as soon as I got in I got excited. Somehow I just knew it would be the best place for me. And I was right. Pay attention to your gut. Trust yourself.

Here is the good news: there is no such thing as the wrong choice. Like any experience, college is what you make of it. Take advantage of opportunities, choose challenging classes, become involved in your interests, and your decision will have been the right one. Chances are you will be happy at any of the schools on your list. After all, you applied to them because you discovered they were good matches for you. If you later find you would rather be somewhere else, you can always consider the transfer option. But most students are happy with the choice they made, and graduates often look back, saying: I am glad I went where I did, but I think I would have been happy and successful at many colleges.

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