How to make the final college decision

How to make the final college decision

By Tate Watson, Staff Writer

As a high school senior during the last couple months of high school, it seems like the number one and sometimes the only thing people want to know is “where are you going to school next year?” For those who have already made their decision a long time ago, this question brings excitement and stories of who their roommate is and what they’re most excited for. However, if you’re still trying to decide between schools, this question can be stressful and only serves to remind you of the looming May first deadline to enroll. If the latter statement struck close to home, here are some tips on how to choose the college that’s right for you.

The first step to choosing which school is right for you is going back and evaluating why you want to go to school in the first place. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of college and forget the fundamental things you really need to succeed in school. How nice the student gym is shouldn’t be as important as the school having your major or providing lots of opportunities for internships in your field.

While you’re evaluating your top choices, keep in mind where you’d like to be in four years and which school will do the best job of helping you to reach that point. However, do keep in mind that the majority of college students end up changing their major and deciding to do something completely different while in school. A helpful tip is to look at the other major programs that your top schools have and how much of a hassle it is to change your major. Going to a school that has good programs in a lot of fields you’re interested in will help you down the road if you decide to change your course of study.

Another thing to look at in making your final choice, is whether or not you see yourself on the campus. It’s a little late in the game to visit your top schools again but try to think back on when you first visited the campus and how you felt walking around and interacting with the students who go there. The transition to college can be a difficult one and the sooner you feel at home while on campus, the easier it will be to acclimate to college life.

Finally, as hard as it can be to do, look at the number that’s attached to the degree (aka the cost of tuition). As fun as it would be going to your dream school for four years, graduating thousands of dollars in debt isn’t how you want to start your adult life. Look at the financial aid or merit scholarships your schools have offered as well as the options to work on campus and other ways to save money while attending college while making your decision. At the same time, remember that college is an investment for your future and sometimes you have to spend a little more to get the outcome you want. If one school will do an exponentially better job at preparing you and connecting you to your dream job, it may be worth it in the long run to pay more.

Before making the final decision, take time to reflect and compare your top schools. This isn’t a decision to be taken lightly as the next four to five years of your life will (hopefully) be spent at the school you choose. But at the same time, get excited! You’ve already done the hard work and have gotten into your schools, now it’s just up to you to make your final decision and let the “fun stuff” start to happen. And most importantly, remember that wherever you end up, your college experience is what you make it to be- you can have a great experience at whatever school you choose as long as you’re making the effort to get involved and get excited about your school.