It is here! The American colleges National Candidates Reply Date is May 1 .As a senior, this is your decision deadline. If you did not do Early Action or Early Decision application, you are still weighing your options. You must select a college to enroll in for the next year. How do you sift through all the admissions and financial offers to make a final decision? What questions should you be asking?
How do you approach this final, all important decision? Cyndy McDonald, college counseling expert, shared some tips in a recent webinar, “Now What? Making the Final Decision.”
In preparation, review the answers to the College Match survey (College Match 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 Need to 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. Counsel with your parents and together make your final college decision.
As a family Review Best Fit Categories
Together go back to the basics. Go back to the roots of your college selection process. What was most important to you of these four categories of fit? Evaluate which college meets your needs best?
Four aspects of “best fit”.
- Academic: Does it offer your major? Field of Study? Internships or cooperative education options!? How large will your classes be?
- 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 April 6 and April 13 blogs.
- Social: Harlan Cohen, author of “The Naked Roommate” talks about the importance of identifying PLACES you will feel comfortable on campus, and PEOPLE (see Harlan’s webinar, 7 Big Mistakes HS Seniors Make When Picking a College). Who will your people be? And your places? The best way to do this is to spend a night on campus. Learn about campus activities, student body.
- 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 what students say 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. Enter into 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!