You’ve been accepted to college(s), congratulations! So now you begin to ponder, which school to submit your deposit to – and eventually attend.
Many considerations you will have when choosing which school to attend will be the same as those you kept in mind when deciding where to apply. However the balance has shifted, now you will need to make price one of your top priorities. Other factors will be the size, reputation of the school and the resources it offers.
Most schools do not send out scholarship letters with acceptance letters, but they do come out shortly after. When you do receive this information add this up with the private scholarships you have received thus far. Then sit down with your parents. Show them what you have procured on your own and ask them what they are willing to contribute to your education. From there you can look at tuition rates and see what schools fit into your budget. Student loans are available from the government and private institutions; these can supplement your budget as well. With this in mind you should look over the schools you were accepted to and make sure they are all still up for your consideration. Now time to look at the other factors.
I am sure that during your college search you stumbled across many different rankings of the colleges you were thinking of applying to. While it may be tempting to simply pick the school that ranked highest in U.S. News & World Report, this may not be the best fit for you. It would be a good idea for you to make a list of the schools you have been accepted to and rank them in order of first choice to last. To make this list glance back over their websites, curriculum, location, campus life, clubs and so forth. If at all possible you should make a trip to as many of these schools as you can. If you can do an overnight stay (almost every college offers this) that will provide you with an even better look into the lives of students at that particular college or university. Ultimately the choice is up to you, but be sure to do your research. You do not want to make an impulse decision that you may later end up regretting.
***For those of you who got waitlisted at your first choice school, do not panic. There still may be hope. My best advice for students in this position is to write a letter. Do not type it and make sure it is on nice stationary. In the age of email and Facebook a handwritten letter is invaluable and adds more dimension to one of the thousands of paper applications an admissions counselor sees. In this letter appeal to the school on a personal level, reiterate your desire to be a student at this institution and provide individualized reasoning. Also, it does not hurt to put a call into the admissions office and get your name on their minds. Disclaimer: keep in mind if you do get accepted off of the waitlist your chances for scholarships may be severely diminished.