After all your acceptances are in, if you are choosing between two similar schools, there are a number of things you can do to make a decision. First of all, if at all possible, visit the schools during their “accepted student” programs. You might find that you feel much more comfortable at one school than another. Secondly, see if there are any financial reasons to pick one school over another-for example, while school costs might be similar, maybe one school will require you to fly home over vacations which will cost more money. Thirdly, take a look at the programs or majors you’re interested in-does one school have a much better program or reputation in any of those fields? Finally, join the accepted students Facebook group for both schools. You might find that you just like one group of students better than another or you might learn some facts that will help you make a decision.
The fact that they are similar means that you have honed in on the type of school that will best serve your needs and so the decision comes down to either more specific things or simply a feeling of greater comfort. Is one farther away from home and does that matter? Is there a substantive difference in cost? Questions like that need to be addressed. That being said, their similarity should mean that programmatically they will both serve your needs, and so you might ask whether one feels better and are you more comfortable there? In the end, it often comes down to that.
First, be happy that you have this challenge. Make a chart of pros and cons. Look at location, programs, social life, etc. Is one dramatically more expensive than the other. Is one closer to a city? Go back to each campus and spend time in classes, dorms, and activities. If you still can’t decide, then pretend for one entire day you are going to one of the schools. How does it feel? Then do the same for the second. I worked with a girl who couldn’t make up her mind until the last day. She flipped a coin, and then realized she knew which one to accept. She and the other kids who have been in this lucky situation, always wind up at the right school. .
The best way to choose between to two very similar schools is to try and participate in an overnight visit. By spending 24 hours on a campus you will get a much better feel for the social atmosphere of the school and whether or not it’s the right fit for you. You may discover that the two schools aren’t so similar after all!
There are many things that you could use to help you decide between colleges. You could use the financial aid package or whether or not you received a scholarship at one of the colleges. You could use the actual campus. Which actual campus did you like best? Are they both in the city, rural or urban? Are they the same size? Do they offer the same programs? Hopefully they both have the program you are interested in majoring in, but what about student life programs, intramural sports, fraternities/sororities. It is really hard to help you choose between two colleges without knowing which two colleges and knowing more about you as a student. This is a question best answered on a case by case basis, perhaps you should request an online chat session.
I would suggest going to each college for a visit, if at all possible, even if you have visited before. Many colleges offer an ‘admitted students’ weekend, where you have an opportunity to sit in on a class or two, stay in the dorms, and so on. By experiencing both colleges once more, in close proximity, time-wise, your better fit may emerge.
Sometimes it just comes down to dollars & sense.
There are several options to consider. First, identify what makes them similar and what makes them different. Second, write down what you desire your college experience to be like. Consider: major, campus size, relationships with professors, campus organization involvement, alumni success, career service options, on-campus living options, and distance from home. Focusing on these aspects of your two options will help you decide what is a priority and the quality of experience that each option will offer to you.
If you’re having trouble deciding between two very similar schools, here are some ways to help differentiate.
If at all possible, visit both and plan to spend at least a half day at each one. If possible, arrange to spend the night on each campus and attend two or three classes. The more time are able to spend the more you will see the differences. If you can not visit speak to as many current students as you can and ask them why they chose to attend school A versus B. If the two colleges are very similar it is likely that a number of current students also applied to both. It is a good idea to speak to many students as they will each have their own biasis and reasons.
Visit each school, consider the costs, and talk it over with a trusted advisor.
Financial aid may be available to those who qualify. The information on this site is for informational and research purposes only and is not an assurance of financial aid.
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