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How to Choose Between Colleges

"You're in! You've been accepted to [insert college name here]! Please pay a deposit by [insert date here] to reserve your spot! Congratulations!"

Decisions, decisions

As a second semester senior who hasn't done Early Decision, you probably wonder which college you should go to. Is it the one out of state? The one close to home? The one somewhat close to home?

You have to weigh the options. The financial aid, location, what you want versus what your parents want, majors, etc. This is a tough decision to make as a seventeen- or eighteen-year-old.

Six Tips to Help You Figure Out Your Future

Personally, I've seen my friends struggle to figure out which college they want to commit to and waiting till the deadline to finally decide. Here are a few tips I suggest to help you figure it out:

  1. First and foremost is whether or not you can envision yourself at the campus. Did you take a tour or visit the school at least once? Do you feel like it is somewhere you can picture yourself spending four years in? Does the environment match with you as a person?
    Maybe there's too many people for your comfort or there's a lack of diversity. Maybe you prefer an all girls (or boys) school.
  2. Secondly, think about the financial situation. Which college gives you the best financial package? Do you have to take out bigger loans for one school as opposed to the other? Do you want to take out loans and be in debt?
    I always say student loans are the worst loans to have but if you have a plan, you do what is best for you.
  3. Does the college have your major? Does it have what you're interested in pursuing in the future? If it doesn’t have what you’re interested in, it helps to eliminate your options.
  4. Where is the college? Is it out of state where you have to dorm, or even out of the city, or is it close to home? Is it in a rural area or in a small city? Will you need other modes of transportation in order to go to and from places (like to the supermarket, going out, etc.)?
  5. What do your parents want? Do they want you to stay home, or closer to home while you want to move out and be more independent? They are ultimately paying for your education so you have to take their opinions into consideration. If you are adamant about going out of state and dorming but your parents don’t want to, I suggest you to come up with a plan that you want to follow and try to convince your parents. It can include living expenses, loans, your reasons for going away, pros and cons, etc.
  6. Make a pros and cons list for your colleges. Do the pros outweigh the cons?

I wish you the best of luck in this difficult, life changing decision! No matter what happens, you’ll end up in a great college pursuing your future.