After you get the financial aid offers from the various colleges you’re considering, sit down with your parents and create a chart of pros and cons.
These are some factors to consider, as they may be important to you:
- Location (distance from home, geographical location, city/suburban/rural, the “feel” of the community)
- Transportation (How will you get there and back home?)
- Size of the college
- Reputation of college
- Strength of the major program (Print out the online catalog pages that describe the major and its courses, so that you can visually compare the offerings.)
- Study abroad program
- Academic challenge (Allow yourself to be stretched!)
- Campus life (Is it vibrant . . . or is it a commuter campus?)
- Housing options
- Financial aid offer
If you haven’t visited a campus for a school you’re still considering, spring break is the perfect time! However, even if you can’t, don’t dismiss that school as an option. My oldest daughter was accepted at all five colleges to which she applied; she decided to go to the one she had NOT visited, because the school offered her a leadership scholarship, and she loved the idea that Biola University already viewed her as a leader. When we drove onto the campus in La Mirada, Orange County, California, she FREAKED OUT, saying, “I hate this! I hate this!” Nevertheless, a week later she called home: “I love this! I love this!” She got both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees there — and loved every minute . . . including the five-minute drive to Disneyland.
Yes, it’s a big decision . . . but know this: Every college has something wonderful to offer.
Remember to check your portal on your college websites DAILY . . . and stay on top of those deadlines.