If you have been accepted to two or more of your top-choice colleges, congratulations! Of course, now that the decision is in your hands, you may feel torn between them. If you do, here are several factors to consider that can help you decide which school to attend:
Location can greatly impact your college experience. For example, if you enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life, you might decide to choose a school in or near a major metropolitan area. While some students enjoy this atmosphere, others prefer a quieter environment – if this describes you, a small college town can offer a slower pace that you may be more inclined toward.
Also consider where you would like to be geographically. Is it important for you to be close to home? Would you like to be within driving distance of a certain city? Is there something about the East Coast, Midwest, South, or West Coast that appeals to you? Would you like to attend college abroad? As you weigh your options, be sure to ask yourself these questions.
Reflect on what kind of community you would like to be part of during your college years. For instance, what extracurricular opportunities are available – sports, volunteer programs, leadership activities? Are you interested in Greek life? How do students engage with the community when off campus? Are the characteristics that you value (diversity, gender equality, sustainability, etc.) evident on campus? Can you imagine yourself flourishing in this environment?
Each school will have a specific culture, so try to speak with current students about what they like or dislike about their college community. Visiting your top-choice schools will be highly beneficial, as it will help you gain a greater sense of what the community is like, as well as whether you can picture yourself there.
Some students enter college with an idea of what they wish to study, while others plan to explore different subjects before they select a major. If you have a major in mind, research the department. How big is it, and are you comfortable with that size? Larger departments may offer more opportunities, but smaller ones may be closer-knit. Are there capstone projects that you will be required to complete? What kind of research do the professors do? Is this department one of the best at the school? The answers to these questions can impact your studies and future career.
If you have not yet decided on a major, look into the academic support available at your top-choice colleges. What prerequisites exist, and will they allow you to fully explore potential majors? Does the school have a specific focus, like science or the arts?
Choosing just one school from your top choices can be difficult, but the process can provide you with a more nuanced perspective of how you would like to spend the next four years. Remember to tap into a variety of resources as you consider the above factors – in addition to browsing the school website, contact alumni, current students, and faculty. You can also look into in-person visits. By the end of this process, you will have a school you can say yes to!