You have been through the stressful and at times grueling application process. Once your applications were mailed, you began the long waiting period for admissions decisions but now the decisions are up to you. You have received multiple offers of admissions, you are excited about many of them, and you are feeling great that your accomplishments have been recognized.
You have several wonderful college choices but now you ask yourself where you will get the best education and at the same time find happiness. It’s now the middle of April and the deadline of May 1st to respond to the college of your choice is fast approaching.
So how do you decide?
If you have already visited these colleges you have a better idea, so go back to your notes on each visit. Go to the colleges’ websites and search for whatever it was that you liked in the first place when you decided to apply. If that doesn’t help, then visit the campuses again. You’ll have a much different perspective this time. If you have not visited, now is the time to make those trips even if it means taking a few days off from school.
Many colleges 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. Go through the course schedule and find a couple of classes you would like to attend at each college, and make arrangements to sit in on these classes. Call admissions and schedule an overnight in the dorm.
Once you are at the college, speak with students and faculty, have a meal or two in the dining hall, attend classes, and if you have arranged to stay overnight, attend a social activity in the evening. If you’re an athlete, meet with a coach and talk with members of the team. If you’re interested in a particular program, meet with the advisor of that program and talk with student members.
While on campus, make the most of your visit and try to picture yourself there as a student. Do you feel comfortable walking around campus? Do you think it will be easy to make friends? Are there certain characteristics of this college that are attractive to you? Do you feel at home on campus? Is this campus what you imagined your college experience to be? While your parents, friends, counselor, and teachers have all given you their advice, ultimately, this is your decision. You are the one who will spend the next four years at this college. So relax and go with your instincts. The decision is not as complicated as you may think.
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