Hey, seniors. Managing the good news/bad news activity this month may bring on another form of March madness, but hang in there because you will arrive at the journey’s end and identify the right college for you. Yes, March is a busy month for settling with a variety of results: admit, wait list, denials, or even a January admit. Reviewing and accepting the news from colleges can be stressful, so it is best to take one result at a time — all while keeping perspective on your overall outcome.
Think about the pros and cons of those institutions that are eager to have you on campus and bid farewell to the others. You have time before May 1, Decision Day, so set these weeks aside to reassess and review your priorities before making your final choice. Consider the degree of rigor in the academic program, size, location, and campus culture as you ask yourself key questions that will help you assess each. Do you see inspiring opportunities outside the classroom? Which school is the right place for you to live, study and grow over the next four years? Good decisions are informed decisions, so do not pass GO quite yet. Move into your final phase of research, and take one more (thoughtful) lap around your personal college search. Remember to consider what you want and what the college has to offer. Know yourself, what you like and don’t like, and sharpen your knowledge of each school.
Here are six tips to consider in making your final choice.
1. Set aside time for campus visits, revisits, and/ or admit programs. Whether you need to go back to campus or are visiting for the first time, take it all in! If at all possible, don’t commit unless you have put your feet on the ground and know the school is the right place for you.
2. Review financial aid options. Consider the cost of your four years and the benefits of each individual package.
3. Narrow your list by prioritizing your interests. If a tight-knit community is important to you, take a close look at class size and professor availability. Take inventory and see how your choices stack up.
4. Speak with parents, counselors, and teachers. Communicate with the adults in your life by sharing both your excitement and your uncertainties.
5. Look carefully at how college life will unfold, academically. What are the freshman requirements and how are resources for academic and advisory support set up.
6. Consider the on-campus programs for internships, service, externships, and alumni network. This may be important to you as you move into your junior and senior years.
When you have weighed your options and know what is best, commit. Forward your deposit to your school and let your friends, family, and school community know where you will be headed next fall!
**Two reminders: In the midst of the relief and joy that comes after having made a difficult decision, do not forget to send the other colleges on your list a kind letter to decline your attendance to their institution. And, remember to keep your grades up, finish strong, and not forget that your year-end grades will also be reviewed. Your confirmed admittance will depend on the consistency and strength of your academic record.