It’s almost here! The National Candidates Reply Date for U.S. colleges is May 1. As a senior, this is your enrollment decision deadline. If you did not do an Early Decision application, you may still be weighing your options. How do you approach this final, important decision? Cyndy McDonald, college counseling expert, shared some tips in a webinar, “Now What? Making the Final Decision.”
Review your answers to the College Match survey, by Dr. Steven Antonoff, included in GuidedPath. Knowing your preferences and traits is important as you prioritize your admission offers. If you have not taken the survey yet, you can still do it now!
- What are your top 3 categories?
- In your own words, describe what your highest score category says about you and your needs for going to college?
Parents Must Contribute
Going to college is a family affair. You are going to college, but your parents are sending you. It should be as good a fit for your whole family. Involve your parents and take their opinions to heart when making your final college decision.
As a Family Review Best Fit Categories
Together as a family, think back to what was most important to you when making your original list of colleges (things like – academics, location, size, activities). Evaluate which college meets your needs best?
Four aspects of “best fit”.
- Academic: Does it offer your major or field of study? Internships or cooperative educational options? What will your class sizes be? Compare the number of undergraduate students at each college.
- Financial: Is it affordable, both for you and your family? Will you need student loans to afford the school? Have you been offered generous scholarships or grants? Do a cost comparison to see which colleges offer you the best financial aid. Details for doing financial award comparisons are in previous emails.
- Social: Harlan Cohen, author of “The Naked Roommate” talks about the importance of identifying PEOPLE and PLACES you will feel comfortable with on campus (see Harlan’s webinar, 7 Big Mistakes HS Seniors Make When Picking a College). Who will your people and places be? One of the best ways to do this is an overnight visit on campus.
- Physical: Based on your college visits, which college offers the physical location that best fits your needs? Does the physical campus environment excite you? What about the climate and the surrounding area?
Ask for Opinions
Before you make a final decision, talk to others. Check social media. Talk to friends at the schools you are considering. Find out what the pros and cons are for each campus from students there. Use Niche or Unigo to view student reviews about the campus.
Make a list of Pros and Cons
Using the information in your rankings, create a list of pros and cons for each school and enter them into the Decisions section of GuidedPath. Use this information and your review of categories to determine which college you are enrolling as a freshman in the fall.
Look forward with Enthusiasm
Once you make your enrollment decision, look forward with enthusiasm, and don’t second guess yourself. You can do well at any of the colleges on your list. It is all up to you to make it happen. The college name is less important than the experiences you will have while there!