How to Choose a College Once You’ve Been Accepted

College Decision

Though it probably feels like getting accepted into several colleges or universities of your choice would be a great problem to have in the spring of your senior year, it will end up being more of a curse than a blessing. Making the final decision about where to spend the next four years, which program best suites you and dealing with the financial aspect is nothing short of overwhelming, especially when they are several good choices.  Remember, make a decision based on you and your needs rather than what your peers are doing or not doing. An undergraduate degree plays a major role in a person’s career.

Look at the material
When you visited college campuses on a college tour or trip, refer back to any handouts of brochures you were given. Jot down as many notes as possible to help make an informed decision.  It will help to lay out any material you have to visually see what you like and dislike about each school. It’s nearly impossible to be objective without having all of the facts. Try to remember what you were thinking and feeling while you were standing on each campus or speaking with an admission’s officer. Decide which ones immediately stand out in your mind.

Do some additional research
While thinking about your final decision, write down any questions or concerns you may have. Feel free to surf the Internet to get answers or simply call the campus to ask away. An admission’s officer will have the answer to most concerns you will have. These people can help you to feel confident about your decision and ensure you choose the right school for next year.

Be practical
For many students, cost is an important factor in making your decision. If you are being offered a particularly generous financial aid package or scholarships from one of your top school — it may help to bump it ahead of the competition. Similarly, an acceptance from a good state school with a great deal for students in the state can be tough to pass up if cost is a big component of your choice. Also, you may want to consider other practical matters, like the location of the school and how far from home you would be while attending college.

Chat with your parents
By talking to someone you respect like a parent, sibling, professor or counselor, you will be able to bounce off ideas in regards to pros and cons. Getting advice from people who know you the best can help when trying to pick the “right choice” out of many options. Simply talking about it with others will help in the long run to be the perfect balance between objective and emotional. A guidance counselor may also be able to help you to narrow your options and a parent may have insights from going along on the process with you.

Once a college becomes your number one pick, tell your family and friends the good news and then immediately let the school know you’re accepting their invitation to be part of their college. The best part of all of this will be the ending to the college search process and knowing SAT prep is long behind you.

How Do I Choose a College From My Accepted List?

It’s a great thing to know that you’ve been accepted to multiple colleges. After years of researching colleges, preparing for the SAT, and keeping your high school transcript strong, you can relax and know that you have some real options for next year. For some students, choosing the top college from the accepted list is easy, one has stood out all along. For many high school students, however, choosing a college from the accepted list can be a challenging and nerve wracking process. There are several factors that can help you to narrow your list down to the perfect college.

Financial Aid
One important factor that high school students should discuss with their parents is the financial aid packages that have been offered by each college. If one stands out as a great deal, it may be too good to pass up. College is expensive and being given a significant financial aid package or scholarship from one of your top-choice schools can be a huge relief for the family.

Location
Once you have visited the colleges on your list, you can think about how their locations will affect your college experience. Maybe you always anticipated going to school far away, but as the time draws nearer, that school one-hour away seems like a much better choice. For other students, proximity to a favorite city or a certain landscape may make the next four years seem a lot better. Location is important and it’s okay to factor that in when you choose a school. Remember, you’re also choosing a new temporary home.

Campus Visits
Thinking back to campus visits can be a deciding factor in the college decision process. Was there one school that felt like home from the beginning or a place where you really saw yourself fitting in with the current students on campus? If you can’t remember details from a college, you may not have been very impressed with the school. If professors stand out in your mind as being great teachers or you really had a great day during your tour, that can help to make your decision a lot easier.

Don’t Stress!
Remember, while it’s tempting to think that you are searching for that one perfect school, chances are you will be happy on any number of college campuses. You have already put in the effort and narrowed schools down from your original list to come up with the very best fits for you. In the end, it’s all about making an informed decision.

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Community College Vs. Four Year University; Which Is Right For You?

There are reasons that high school students choose to attend a community college and reasons that they choose a four-year college. The right choice will be different for everyone and depend on the individual’s projected career path, financial situation, academic interests, and what they are looking for in a college experience.

Cost can be a large factor in determining whether a student chooses community college or a four-year college. Community colleges are typically much less expensive and may provide an affordable option for students who cannot find a way to afford a four-year college, but want to continue their education. If your financial situation might stand in the way of a four-year college, community college can be a great option. It is also worth exploring financial aid options, including grants, scholarships, and loans that may be available to students entering four-year colleges to help lessen the financial burden.

Your intended career path and academic interests can also be factors in choosing between a community college a four-year degree. A community college can also be a good choice for someone who doesn’t know if they want to enter a profession that will require a four-year degree. Community college will give you two years to explore your interests and make decisions about your future career. After two years, you will have an Associates Degree and can decide if you will enter a career or transfer to a four-year college with a better idea of what you plan to do. Most community college credits will transfer to a four-year college and can be used towards your Bachelors Degree. A four-year degree is often the preferred choice for students who have career goals that will require at least a Bachelors Degree or graduate school.

The atmosphere on campus can be very different between a community college and a four-year college. Many community colleges are non-residential, with students living off campus instead of in dorms and campus housing options. A four-year college will generally have more resources available to students as far as a comprehensive library, an alumni network, and access to sports and clubs.

Beginning at a four-year college also ensures that you are taking the right classes from the very beginning to count towards general requirements and major requirements. Alternatively, community colleges are a great place to catch up on material from high school so that you can get into a better four-year college and not spend time there taking courses to fulfill requirements.

If you are considering transferring to a four-year college after community college, it is important to talk to staff at the community college to find out about credit transfers and assistance with the process. Speaking with college administrators and staff will often help you to make your decision. High school guidance counselors can also be a great resource in helping you to decide between a community college and a four-year college.

Considerations When Applying to Your College Safety Schools

A safety school is a college where, due to your grades and test scores, you are almost certain to be accepted. For most students, it is best to incorporate a safety school into their list of colleges during the application process. A safety school can help ease anxiety about the college application process during a time when maintaining grades and completing SAT test prep are still top priorities. While many students apply to a safety school only to have a back-up option if other schools don’t offer acceptance, there are still important things to consider before selecting your safety schools.

Choose Schools That You Like
No one should apply to a college that they wouldn’t want to attend. Make your safety schools worth your time and effort by choosing schools that have something that appeals to you. Just because a school is sure to offer you acceptance, doesn’t mean its program is any worse than a school where admission is more difficult. Choose one with a good program in your tentative major or one with a lot of good extracurricular options. Plan campus visits to your safety schools and take time to learn about them. Also consider where the school is located and be sure it is a place you can actually see yourself living during college. Choosing a safety school where you can picture yourself learning and growing for four years will make it feel like less of a safety school and more of a real option.

Do Your Best Work
While it’s tempting to put more effort into applications for your top choice schools, it’s worth your time to do your best on every application that you submit. In addition to preparing your applications and writing good essays, it is critical to maintain your high school grades and make time for SAT test preparation. A good SAT test prep program will prepare you for the SAT and give you the confidence to do well. If you have a busy senior year schedule, consider online SAT test prep as a good option for SAT test preparation. It will often allow you more control over the schedule and online SAT test prep programs can prepare you just as well as a formal class.

Consider Financial Aid
Before applying to your colleges, consider what would happen if you were offered an exceptional financial aid offer to one of your safety schools. Would it be worth attending your second choice college if they were offering a full scholarship? This answer will be different for everyone and will depend on many factors. The subject of financial aid is an important thing to consider and a good conversation to have with a parent or guardian before you are faced with making a decision under a deadline.

College visits: What to look for

Visiting a college campus is a critical step in the application process. While background information can be gathered from brochures and websites, there are many things that you can only learn by visiting the school and interacting with students and staff. If possible, try to plan the visit for a time when classes are in session. This will give you a better window into life on campus. There are several important things to consider during these campus visits.

Size
Some students will prefer to be at a large university while others may want a smaller campus. This is often a personal preference and something that will have a large impact on your college experience. A small school can offer a tight-knit feeling of community, while a larger school may offer a wider variety of classes and extracurricular activities.

Location
It is important to choose a school that is in a place you want to live for a few years. There are colleges in the heart of large cities, in rural small towns, and everything in between. It is important to find out about the relationship the college has with the surrounding city or town, whether students are actively involved in the community or tend to stay within the campus. The location of a college will also impact how students spend their free time. Ask if the majority of students stay on campus over the weekends and what options are available for entertainment and activities.

Requirements
The college’s admissions materials will often print the average high school GPA and SAT scores for incoming students. If the numbers aren’t readily available in printed materials, it’s a good idea to ask. Knowing this can help you to prepare through SAT test prep and maintaining a good GPA. It is also important to find out about course requirements on campus. Many schools will require a core curriculum of classes in various subjects, but the number of options available to fulfill these requirements will vary.

Housing
One highlight of the college visit is often seeing the inside of a dorm room. This is a good time to ask whether housing is guaranteed all four years and what options, such as single rooms, suites, and apartments, are available to students.

Majors
If you already know what you plan to major in during college, you will want to learn as much as you can about that specific department. A campus visit will often allow you to sit in on a class or meet with a professor to get a better sense of the school’s program. If you are unsure about your major, look for a school with plenty of options that interest you. Some schools are better choices for students interested in a double major or pursuing a specific minor or concentration in addition to their major. It is a good idea to ask how many students do this and how well this course load would fit into an academic plan.


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