The next few months seem to be some of the most crucial in the life of a prospective college student. The time you have spent visiting schools, scouring campus websites, applying for scholarships is slowly coming to an end and it will soon be time to make your decision.
As an admission counselor I get many frantic phone calls from students and parents trying to get all their last minute questions answered so that they can make the “BIG” decision. I can sense the anxiety through the phone. Most of the conversations are about finances, jobs after graduation, how we choose roommates and other important topics. People are grasping for those last bits of information thinking that one answer might be the key to the right college choice. The idea that this one phone call will be the final defining factor in a college decision is frightening to me. Don’t let a phone call determine your future. As decision time approaches, here are some additional tips for helping you finalize your plans:
1. Don’t rush. Most schools have set a deadline to confirm your attendance. Keep the confirmation deadline in mind so that you know when you have to make your decision. If you are not sure which school to choose by that date, you can call the school and ask for an extension. Not all schools can grant extensions, your admission counselor can let you know if that is possible.
2. Visit your top campus choices one more time. If you have narrowed it down to a couple of schools it would be a good idea to head back to campus and check it out again. If you have not visited your college options, this is a must. You cannot make a solid college decision without seeing the campus first hand. Staying overnight, eating in the cafeteria, attending a class, and meeting some students will only help solidify your decision. If you have already visited this may confirm what you already know or it could shed some new light on your choice.
3. Wait to see your financial aid award letter. Each school you have been accepted to will send information about your financial aid and the cost of the school. You need this information to make your decision. Seeing the numbers may help guide you to the right choice especially if you like two schools equally but one will cost you a lot less to attend. After you have completed your financial aid paperwork at each school they will send out the details you need. Since each institution has a different process, contact the schools and ask if they have everything they need from you and when you can expect to hear about your financial aid.
Don’t let decision time turn into panic time. Where you go to college is an important decision but trust that God is guiding you and will get you to the right place. If you have done your research, visited the schools, talked with friends & family, you will develop a peace about your final choice.