Congratulations to all the seniors offered acceptance into more than one college! After celebrating your success and the hard work it took to get here, it’s time to determine which school you’d like to attend.
If you don’t have an obvious top choice, compare each school based on what’s most important to you. Comparisons often include cost, location, campus life, list of majors, and graduation statistics.
The cost of tuition, room and board, books, and living expenses can vary greatly from school to school. Before committing to one school it’s wise to add up semester costs over four years and compare the price tag.
Scholarships, or free money provided by the government or an organization, can cut costs drastically. If cost is a deterring factor to attending your dream school, ask about different scholarship options that may still be available.
Keep in mind, tuition rates vary by school type and location. Private school tuition costs almost three times more than public school tuition, and public school tuition costs twice as much as community college tuition. Public colleges can charge out of state students over twice the cost per credit than in state students. However, many private schools are able to offer more generous financial aid packages. Be sure to look at your final financial aid offer for each school and not just the “sticker price” of the college listed on the website.
Is the school close enough to drive? Or far enough to take a plane? If flying, how will you transport your belongings? Will the cost of flights do and from school start adding up? Do you want to be close enough to home to pop in for the weekend?
Is the campus warm and tropical or still covered in snow at the end of spring semester? Is the campus close to a big city or in a rural mountain town? Although these may not be the most important factors, they are something to consider since you will call college home for the next four years.
Campus Life and Student Services
Campus life can make or break the first year of college. Clubs, extracurricular activities, even facilities such as the gym and library can change a school’s atmosphere. The campus of a school with high commuter rates will feel different than one where most students live on campus.
Transportation may also be a factor as some schools allow freshmen to bring cars and others do not. If cars are not allowed, check if public transportation is available for any off campus needs.
Finally, academic, career, and alumni services may vary from school to school. Academic services include class advising and scheduling. Career services consist of resume, interview, and job search help. Alumni services offer networking and career assistance to college graduates.
Different schools offer different majors. Some schools are known for a specific major and only accept top applicants for admissions into an academic program. Are you only interested in attending a prestigious program or school and learning beside the best of the best? Is the program of your choice accredited and accepted in the industry field?
Make sure the school you choose offers your major and classes of interest.
A college’s graduation and student retention rates offer a glimpse into the kinds of students who attend that school. Do most students stay four years and graduate? Or do the majority transfer schools within a year or two?
If you’re still not sure which college might be a good fit, consider visiting each campus again and talking with academic advisors and other staff. Look for unique opportunities that you can’t find anywhere else. Give yourself time to decide and after you do, relax and enjoy the rest of your senior year.