Your college acceptances and awards are finally finding their way to your inbox. How will you finally choose your college? Even though you may have a favorite, we advise you ask yourself several tough questions before you make your choice.
Is This College Where I Felt the Greatest Connection to Faculty?
So why the big deal with the college faculty? Because they are your primary mentors in the college environment. They will help guide your reason for being there—to learn about your chosen academic major and to help you find employment in your field. If you have not yet formed a sense of if these people are great potential mentors to you, when will you know?
Am I Clear on How I Will Pay My Bills?
It is surprising how many students and their families do not really understand how they will pay the cost of tuition, room, board and fees! This is not an expense that you can just plop on the credit card. Many students really do not know the cost of their education before they choose their college. This is negligence that can lead to financial disaster. Read your financial offer letter carefully, and be sure you understand what each line means. Talk to a staff member in the Financial Aid office to get clarity. They may be able to help you arrange monthly payments.
Am I Committed to Participating Fully in Every Opportunity?
As excited as you may be about starting your college years, you need to make a commitment to your own participation. Let’s start with Orientation. The college has set aside several days and many activities that are intended to help you make a smooth transition to college life and, specifically, to make a strong connection to your new school. It can truly set the stage for your success. Research links successful orientation programs with student retention, meaning if you participate in good programs, you are more likely to stay at that college. If you think it is not “cool” to participate in these very intentional events, then you might as well be flushing several hundred dollar bills down the toilet. You need to make a commitment to utilize all the resources your college is providing for you. Otherwise, you’re inviting failure.
These are serious and tough questions, I know! Sometimes students and families can use outside, professional guidance in considering their options and voicing their concerns before committing thousands of dollars to a college education. My College Planning Team provides families that kind of critical investigation, both from a financial perspective and from an academic fit perspective. Contact us. Our first consultation is free.