Selecting Your School: Tips and Tricks to Feel Confident in Your Decision
College acceptance letters are rolling out, and students are looking at their options to make the life-changing decision about where they will be headed in the fall. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your college commitment decision, you are not alone. Students across America are feeling the exhilaration and pressure of figuring out which college is best for them. As an Admissions Advisor, here are some tips and tricks to make the decision a little easier.
Visit all of your options! It is likely you have already visited the campus, but if you have not, this is a must. Without visiting the campus, deciding on the place you will spend the next 4 or more years is nearly impossible. It is important to visit when classes are in session to really see the campus come to life. Some colleges even have the option for students to sit in on classes - sign up for this if it’s available. If possible, try to visit the campus at different times of the year. Seeing the campus at different times will allow you to get a better idea of what campus life is like during the various seasons.
Talk to students in your intended major! Most colleges have programs such as Unibuddy that allow prospective students to speak with current students about their major. This gives you the opportunity to ask key questions and hear their perspective on classes, professors, campus life, and more.
Investigate the career and alumni services that the school offers! It is critical when making a decision on colleges to look at what the alumni job placement rating is. While your career might seem very far away, it is important to begin thinking about your career as early as your Freshman year. Ask these questions to admissions: Do students get jobs using their degree? What kind of internships does the school have? What kinds of programs or resources does the school offer students to guarantee job placement? Most schools have career/alumni services, but some of the programs are not as extensive as others. A good career/alumni service will have many college fairs to connect students to the perfect career, internship/co-op programs, and opportunities for ALL majors.
Make a list of what’s important to you! Campuses vary in size, majors, sports, extra-curriculars, attractions, and more. Every student has their own criteria that is most important to them. Making a list of what matters most in a college allows you to get a better idea of which colleges are right for you. Take that list and compare it to what’s being offered at each of your options.
Look at all of the costs! If you have not done this already, look into the actual costs of these schools. This information can be found on the college's website. Look at the breakdown of costs and how much more you will owe after you account for any scholarships you have received. Be aware, many schools have hidden fees in their prices that are not listed on their website.
Contact an Admission Advisor! Most schools have admissions advisors ready to help you make one of the biggest decisions of your life. They will help answer any question that you have and will guide you through the whole admission and enrollment process.
Deciding on a college can be tough, but by following these steps you will be able to select the college that is best for YOU. The biggest mistake you can make is attending a college based on where your friends are going, where your family went, or just picking the closest school to home. College is an opportunity to set the direction for your life ahead, explore new opportunities, and learn about anything and everything, including things about yourself. Enjoy the process and be excited knowing that YOU are making the decision for the next chapter in your story.