Once accepted, how do you choose between colleges?

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Our counselors answered:

Once accepted, how do you choose between colleges?

Scott White
Director of Guidance Montclair High School

Once accepted, how do you choose between colleges?

Pair each eollege accepted into and give a point to the college you would go to if you had the choice between only these two. Go to the college with the most points.

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Pros and Cons

Once accepted, a "Pros and Cons" list will help to narrow and isolate the college that will be the Best Fit Decision for you. Talk it out. I use poster-sized Post-It paper and Scented Colored Markers. Once you speak it and see it, at that stage in the process, it should be self-evident. If not, revisit what you originally envisioned college to be and examine which college most closely matches your first instincts.

Helen Cella

Once accepted, how do you choose between colleges?

Compare the programs that interest you and the cost of attendance

Yolanda Spiva
Executive Director Project GRAD Atlanta, Inc.

Choose a College Based on Your Professional & Personal Goals

Once accepted, examine the attributes and financial aid packages of each accepting college, in order to determine which is the best fit for you and your future plans. You should choose a college based on affordability, class sizes, social environment, and location. Examine what you consider to be important or what you perceive to be a fit for your individual needs, in order to choose between multiple colleges. If you are a student who craves interaction with your family of origin, then a college close to home may be the best fit. If you are not comfortable with residing proximate to the opposite sex, then co-educational dormitories are likely not to be a great fit for your personality. Tune into yourself for what you need, like, or desire, then consder a college which meshes with your personal preferences or priorities, prior to making a decision between colleges.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

Choosing Among Acceptances

Well, if you chose your schools carefully before applying, you would be happy to be accepted and go to any one of them. Having said that, however, once you receive your acceptances, it would be worthwhile to go back over the list you made earlier about what you want from your college experience - both academically and socially, and determine which of the acceptances seems to really be the best fit. If you haven't visited the schools before (or even if you have), a visit to the institutions to which you have been accepted could help you make up your mind. Finally, depending on family finances, the amount of financial support you would receive from one school compared to another could be a deciding factor.

Jill Karatkewicz
Counselor East Hampton High School

Finances & Fit

There are several factors that can play in to making the decision about which college to attend. If you have multiple options on the table, look at each from the financial perspective to start. With the help of your parents, decide if any of the financial aid packages make any of your schools out of reach. Once you have a list of schools that are financially reasonable, you could try to compare the schools based on a number of factors - location, size, strength of academics/intended major, extracurricular opportunities, etc. If you have not yet visited the schools, this is an absolute must! Being on campus may be the greatest tool to help you solidify your decision. And if you have been on campus for tour or open house, consider going back again - either for an "accepted students day" or even an overnight visit.

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

Fit has three components.

Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off and now you have a choice in schools. There are three components of fit for you and your family to review, academic, social and financial fit. If you were awarded a financial aid package then please begin with financial fit first. If one school is going to cost $20,000 a year less then you should look very hard at finding elements of fit that will add up to both savings and happiness. Warning, make sure that the financial aid package is a 4 year guarantee provided that your GPA and EFC stay where they belong. This will require a conversation with the financial aid office. Please remember to be polite and ask for their help in reviewing your package. Now it is time to look at Academic and social fit. The best way to determine these fits is by revisiting campus and requesting an overnight in the dorms. Make sure to attend some classes in an academic area of interest. Try to attend more than one class and request a meeting with a professor who is also an academic advisor.

Sarah Contomichalos
Manager Educational Advisory Services, LLC

You are in! How to decide which school.

If you have applied for financial aid, the first step to compare the packages. If your preferred school is offering a less generous package think seriously about what makes it your first choice. Graduating in four years with as little debt as possible for you and your parents is an important consideration. Assuming several packages are comparable, visit the schools prior to the May 1st response deadline. Many colleges host overnights or other events for accepted students and this is the time to get any final questions answers. In the end go with your gut feeling as to where you would be most successful.

Mollie Reznick
Associate Director The College Connection

Once accepted, how do you choose between colleges?

If you are really torn between a couple of schools and don't know which to choose, the best way to decide is to fully experience each school. You can do this by scheduling an overnight at each school. While you are there, attend classes that interest you, speak with professors, get a sense of the student body, eat in the dining halls, and really try to envision yourself as a part of the community. Your choice will become clear.

Geoff Broome
Assistant Director of Admissions Widener University

Fit Happens

It is all about Fit. First it's the academic fit. Then it is the social fit. Hopefully you have been accepted to a college that "fits" into these categories. The final piece of the puzzle is Financial Fit. It has to make sense in terms of dollars and cents. But you won't know this final piece until Late March or early April. Once you have the Student Aid Report from each college, then you can compare offers and make good decisions.