...from GuidedPath Edge Guru

Seniors – Now What? Making the Final Decision, part 1

[source: NACAC]

It is here! The National Candidates Reply Date for U.S. colleges is May 1.  As a senior, this is your decision deadline. If you did not do an Early Decision application, you may still be weighing your options.  You must make your enrollment decision by May 1.

How do you approach this final, all important decision? Cyndy McDonald, college counseling expert, shared some tips in a webinar, “Now What? Making the Final Decision.”


In preparation, review the answers to the College Match survey, by Dr. Steven Antonoff, included in GuidedPath. Knowing your preferences or traits is important as you approach this all-important decision. If you have not taken it yet, now is the time!  

  • 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 must be as good a fit for your parents as it is for you. Consult with your parents and together make 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”.

  1. Academic: Does it offer your major? Field of Study? Internships or cooperative education options!? How large will your classes be?
  2. Financial: Is it affordable, both for you and your family? Do you have to take out a lot of student loans to afford the school? Or do they offer you generous scholarships or financial aid?  Do a cost comparison to see which colleges offer you the best financial options. Details for doing financial award comparisons are in previous emails.
  3. 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 to spend a night on campus.
  4. Physical: Based on your college visits, which college offers the physical location that best fits your needs? Will you be exploring nature’s landscape or the urban landscape? Compare the number of undergraduate students at each college.

Ask for Opinions

Before you make a final decision, talk to others.  Check out facebook groups. Talk to friends at different campuses.  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!

Looking 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. It is not the name on your diploma that matters as much as how you managed your experience while there!