National College Decision Day is upon us! It is time to DECIDE YOUR COLLEGE!! If you have 2 (or 3) colleges that you love from which to choose, how do you decide?
Here are some questions that families need to consider:
1. Is the money really different from one college to the next?
If the scholarships and other aid from your top-choice colleges varies only somewhat, then try to keep money out of the decision, at least for the time that you’re answering the rest of the questions.
2. At which college do I feel most “at home”?
Listen carefully to your inner voice on this one; try to evaluate each element of what you are looking for in a college, and assess how it feels to you and which college comes out on top.
3. At which college did I feel the greatest “connection” to faculty?
Faculty are the mentors that you will need to not only learn your subject matter, but more importantly to guide you toward good decisions as you develop your career. Therefore, for you, the most important factor regarding your professors is how effectively can you connect with them and become their “mentees”. The national or international renown enjoyed by your professors means nothing if you can’t access them or connect with them as guides.
4. Which college treated me best?
How did each college deliver their customer service to you? Given that the admissions and financial aid offices are, to some degree, their marketing departments, the reception you’ve been given may be the best they can do. Were you treated like a number? Well then, that probably won’t change once you are on campus.
5. Which colleges had students that were “my kind of people”?
This is not to say that you should choose the school with students most like you! But, if you are to grown and change and meet new people and exchange new ideas and philosophies with fellow students, you’d better have a sense that these fellow students are people you want to get to know.
6. Did any college have a superior orientation program?
If the college has gone all out to create programs that help you acclimate to the campus, the town, the other students, then they care about you getting a great start! These programs cost money, and they wouldn’t put their money there if they didn’t think it mattered to you!
You may have other areas to consider as you make your final decision, but if you’ve covered these 6 questions, then you’ve made a more reliable decision than the average student entering college. Congratulations!!