Posts Tagged ‘choosing a college’

How Do I Make a Final College Decision?

April 11, 2021

Megan got a good start on college planning her junior year. As a senior, Megan has heard back from all of the colleges to which she applied. She was accepted at five,rejected at three, and wait-listed at two. Two of her colleges are in-state universities that she applied to “just in case” she did not get into other schools. The other three she has visited and liked them all, but now she has no idea how she will make her final college decision.

The countdown to graduation has begun and many high school seniors would like to delay the college decision process for as long as they can. Realistically, however, they know that they must choose a school and send in a deposit by May 1st.

For some students this may be easy because one school stands out among the rest. For others, there may be two or three schools that could be good options. How do you make that final college decision?

1. Make sure you have all the facts. During their college planning, some students may have heard generalizations about schools but are a little vague on the specific facts. This is the time to get those answers. If students have questions they do not feel were sufficiently answered, call the school and speak with the person who can clarify the situation. Do not hesitate to contact the director of financial aid, a college coach, or an academic advisor. Making your final college decision depends on research and specific information.

2. Consider revisiting the schools,even virtually.Look at the bulletin boards around campus, and talk with as many different people as you can. Do not hesitate to ask students or professors what they really like about a school and if there is anything they don’t like. Do not make a final college decision based on one person’s opinion, but talking and listening to many people will help you decide whether this is the school for you.

3. Reconsider your priorities. When you were going through the college planning process, what made this school stand out when you initially added it to your list? Do you want a challenging academic experience or one that is balanced between academics and extracurricular activities? If you are interested in music or theater, can you participate if you do not major in one of these areas? Does the school appeal to you because of its name, or do you feel it is really a good fit? Answering these questions honestly will help you make a good college decision.

4. Have a talk with your parents. Throughout your college planning, you and your parents have probably had some discussions about the schools that interested you. They may have some ideas of their own or feel that one college or university is a better choice than another. Listen to what they say, but be prepared to answer questions or concerns they may have about a particular school. They want you to be happy and they know that making your final college decision requires time and thought.

5. Make your final college decision and don’t second guess yourself. Of course you will probably feel some anxiety, but this is normal and expected as you take the final step in the college planning process. If you make the college decision with your head and with your heart, there is no reason to believe that you haven’t chosen the best school for you.

Look for the College Fit, Not the Ranking

April 4, 2018

For many high school juniors, college planning has begun. This, of course, includes the college search. College Direction suggests that students put rankings at the bottom of their considerations and concentrate on researching schools that are a good fit for them. This fit should includes academic, financial and social as well. Rankings just add to the hype surrounding college admissions and rarely have little to do with the educational experience a student will receive. When College Direction is researching schools for a student, we are much more concerned with the undergraduate experience and the four-year graduation rates at different schools. To find colleges with the best fit, students should do some self-reflection and write down a list of qualities they consider important when choosing a school. The colleges they choose to explore more completely should have as many of these qualities as possible.

 

 

 

If I have never heard of the college, how can it be any good?

February 13, 2013

I know that college affordability is a big concern for families today. Parents want to make sure they are getting the most value for their investment. However, I do get concerned when I hear a parent say, “I don’t know how eager I am to pay for a college with a name that I have not heard of.” Surely, they must know that there are many wonderful schools besides those those that everyone has heard of.  But do they?

One thing parents need to understand is that many colleges that are not well known are very fine, highly respected schools.  They provide excellent educations and also frequently award merit scholarships for high achieving students.  They can make college affordable, whereas prestigious, well known institutions may not be able to do so.

As a private college counselor, I truly believe that it is not the name of the school, but what a student gains from the college experience that will make a difference in the future.  Many wonderful lesser-known schools provide close relationships with professors who go on to become mentors.  Students often can participate in research opportunities at an undergraduate level and are in classes that focus more on discussion than just lecture.

Families need to broaden their college horizons and look at a wide variety of schools that will fit their child academically, financially, and personally.  Also, check the graduation rates and look for schools committed to seeing their students graduate in four years.

 

College Admissions: Don’t Limit Yourself in Your College Search

May 29, 2012

Too many high school juniors only consider colleges and universities they have heard of when they begin their college search.  Surprisingly, many students choose schools because their friends are going there.  Other students choose colleges impulsively and for the wrong reasons.  It is important to consider what criteria you are looking for in a college experience.  Then look for schools that seem like a good fit.  If you live on the West coast, you should not limit yourself to colleges in California, Oregon, or Colorado.  Likewise, if you live on the East coast, look at some schools in Illinois, Washington, and Arizona.  Colleges look for applicants who will provide geographic diversity. In fact, geographic diversity is a factor that might give you an edge in the college admissions process.  Check out this article for some schools that might be good choices for you.

http://www.golocalprov.com/lifestyle/college-admissions-10-western-colleges-worth-summer-road-trip/