Deciding on the College to Attend

College Decisions, University Decisions, Ivy League Decisions

Review your notes on campus tours when deciding which college to attend.

You’ve been through the stressful and at times grueling college application process. Once your applications were mailed, you began the long waiting period for admissions decisions. We know. You spent too much time looking at that watched pot as you waited for it to boil. But now the decisions are in your hands. As it turns out, you’ve received multiple offers of admission and you’re excited about at least a few of them…maybe even several. But of course now you find yourself undecided. You’re just not sure where you’ll be happiest. You’re unsure where you should spend these important upcoming four years. And you only have until May 1st to respond to the college of your choice, to let them know you’re coming. The deadline is fast approaching. Tick tock. So how will you decide?

If you’ve already visited these colleges, return your attention to your notes on each campus visit. Go to the websites of these schools and search for whatever it was that you liked about these schools in the first place when you first decided to apply. If that doesn’t help, then visit the campuses all over again. You’ll likely have a much different perspective this time around. And if you have not visited these schools, now is the time to make those trips even if it means taking a few days off from school. It’s absolutely ok!

Many colleges also have specific days for admitted students. If you can visit on one of these days, then by all means do it. If you can’t, then make another visit on your own with your parents. Go through the course schedule and find a couple of classes you’d like to attend at each college, and make arrangements to sit in on these classes. Call admissions and schedule an overnight in the dorms. This is all entirely possible! Remember, once you’re admitted, it’s the colleges who are selling to you. You’re now in the driver’s seat, whereas the colleges have been in the driver’s seat of the college admissions process the last few months.

Once you’re at the college, speak with students and faculty, smile at students and see if they happen to smile back at you (we call this the smile test!), have a meal or two in the dining halls, attend classes, and if you’ve arranged to stay overnight, attend a social activity in the evening. If you’re an athlete, meet with a coach and speak with members of the team. If you’re interested in a particular program, meet with the advisor of that program and speak with student members. In most instances, you’re going to find these students, coaches, and faculty members will roll out the red carpet for you. Enjoy that walk on the red carpet!

But mostly, while on campus, make the most of your visit and try to picture yourself attending that university as a student. Do you feel comfortable walking around campus? Do you think it will be easy to make friends? What do you like about the school? What do you not like about the school? Do you feel at home on campus? Is this campus the setting of your imagined college experience? While your parents, friends, school counselor, and teachers have all given you their advice, ultimately, this is your decision and yours alone. You are the one who will spend the next four years at this school. So relax and go with your instincts. And know that the decision is not as complicated as you may think.


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