College Decision Factors

catie flaherty

Getting the mail lately has been more exciting than ever for seniors who are prospective college freshmen. In the past weeks college decisions have been mailed out to those seniors who sent in their applications earlier this year. With many receiving positive news within those oversized envelopes a new decision is present: what school is the right one for me?

Many factors should be considered when making the final decision because your choice does affect your future. I know this fact may seem daunting but with careful consideration and weighing all options almost everyone will be comfortable with their choices when they enroll for the fall semester.

According to, a top website specifically designed for guiding high school students to find their perfect match regarding higher education believes there are four essential factors that should be considered before sending in your confirmation and deposit to your chosen school.

Visit the Campus: This can make you realize whether the atmosphere is for you. Some may prefer city, suburban, or country environments but others may struggle with where they truly belong. If visiting the campus try talking to students and see what their experiences include. You may find it helpful talking to an admissions couselor who can guide you and introduce you to what can be expected.

Proximity to home is something may consider before making a final decision. Risktakers may want to get away from their personal comfort zone and attend a school on the other side of the country for a different change of pace. Those who feel a closer connection to home may choose to stay closer and choose a school within the New England area.

Whatever your preference may be, remember to think about the fact that moving away means seeing your family less than staying closer but the opportunity to get away may be more rewarding. If staying closer to home is a better option for you, consider the fact that you may be more limited in opportunity but will have more accessibiliy to see your loved ones.

Compare your Intended Program of Study with Others- Investigate opportunities. Before sending a confirmation evaluate how your selected school will prepare you for the future in your  program.

Some schools may offer a stronger array with internships, co-ops, study abroad studies, and hands on learning opportunities. The time you spend while in college should readily prepare you for the future.

Find a program that provides you with the tools you need to make finding a job after graduation simple. If you feel one school is lacking  within this area you may want to reconsider other options.

Sarah Kinney, a senior, plans to study nursing in college.

“I searched for the best programs in the area. Boston has some of the best hospitals in the country making it a perfect place for college. I have a better chance of finding clinical placement after attending a school in the city that specializes in nursing.”

Evaluate your Personal Needs and Desires- Big or small? Greek life? Sports? Dorm styles? Transportation? Food? Clubs/ Activities? Weather?

Each of us has our own checklist that has what we want from our dream school. Before making a final decision I strongly push you to see what each school is lacking and what aspects it contains in abundance. If making a visit to the campus, this will provide further insight on what the school offers.

Open houses are a prime time to investigate your personal interests and see if you will find everything you want. Typically, these open houses provide prospective students with the chance to talk with club advisors or activity coordinators.

If dorms are a top priority look into whether the school you are interested in offers overnight stays with a current student. This way you will be able to experience dorm living first hand and see if the living arrangements are comfortable for you. Another plus for overnight stays is that you will most likely try the dining hall food and decide whether it is delectable enough for your appetite.  

Tori Moses, another senior plans to attend college in the southwest.

“I want to go somewhere with warm weather, no snow, no ice, no humidity. My top schools are in Arizona, California, and Texas. Every school I applied to is in a major city. I want to go to a big school with lots of new people.”

Look Forward to What the Final Cost Will Be- Money doesn’t grow on trees. Think about how you will be paying for college and whether school loans and debt will be manageable after graduation.

Financial aid forms should be getting filled out now. Once notified about exactly how much financial aid you will receive be sure to factor that into each of your school’s total costs.

If eligible find scholarships that are suitable to your field of study, parent’s professions, personal activities, and scholastic interests. There is a scholarship for everything!

 Explicitly calculate how much you will be paying for each school out of pocket. If the least expensive school is not your favorite think about why it is lacking. Ultimately, it comes down to if you are willing to be in debt after college or relatively debt- free.

An anonymous senior says her decision will be solely based on money.

“Financial aid is crucial. I can’t afford to attend a private school so I will be going to a state school. The programs may not be as competitive, but I feel like if you push yourself at whatever school you go to you will be successful. I wish I could go to a better school but I don’t want to be in debt for the rest of my life paying off school loans.”

What is the most important college decision factor for you?


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