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6 best factors to decide which college admission offer to accept

Pick one
Pick one
Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images

All students with admission offers have the power of college choice since the ball is in their court. The decision-making process involves several factors no matter the college list.

For example, 17 year-old Long Island New York student “Kwasi Enin of Shirley… who applied to and was accepted at all eight Ivy League schools…hasn’t decided where he'll attend, but would cross Long Island Sound to attend Yale in New Haven, Conn., depending on the financial aid package offered,” reported Newsday. New Jersey 18 year-old Rachel Canning who dropped a lawsuit against her parents to pay for college as disclosed in a prior article, “has decided to attend Western New England University after receiving a $56,000 scholarship…she plans to be a biomedical engineering major,” according to ViennaPatch.

Ivy League or not, these 6 factors will help students decide which college admission offer to accept:

  1. Net price Compare financial aid packages the right way by focusing on student net price. That means adding up all college costs and subtracting free money grants and scholarships. Although student loans are considered financial aid, they don’t reduce the college bill but add to it by their interest charges and fees. Don’t subtract Work-Study awards either because that money hasn’t been earned yet and may never be if the student doesn’t work. Also note the amount is the maximum the student may earn from a Work-Study job. Students who decide to balance work with studies may also earn less.
  2. Location Where the school is located will determine opportunities available on campus and in the surrounding community. Internships from local potential employers, activities based on the seasons and topography, and travel issues for the student and visiting parents all may be weighed.
  3. Goals A lot may change from last fall to this year’s spring. Students may have different priorities about specific things like choice of major to more general ideas of preparing for a future career and lifestyle. Now is the time to reevaluate goals and match them with fresh eyes to how attending each college will help achieve them.
  4. Here and now Visit the campus on Admitted Student Day to check out future classmates. Visualize what living there would be like. Taste the food, look in the freshman dorms, sit in on a class if possible, and notice professor office hours. Go to the library, Student Center, Health Office, Campus Safety Facility, Athletic fields and gym. Look at unique features of the campus such as a museum, arboretum, planetarium, theatre, stadium, pool, classroom set-ups and other academic/recreational extras. Walk the walk of attending that school.
  5. Big picture it’s time to project what position the net price, location and goals place the student in by graduation. Think about student debt load and it’s effect on maintaining a desired lifestyle based on career, time to get a job and starting salary. Find out if grants or scholarships are automatically renewed each year until graduation, if there are strings attached, and if they are adjusted for future tuition increases. Consider how likely is it the student will return back home or relocate in the college area. Also ponder if goals change during college such as choice of major and career, will the college be able to accommodate new goals to keep on track to graduate on time.
  6. X factor Tally up the pros and cons for net price, location, goals, here and now and big picture. Then consider the undefinable gut reaction the student has about each school. Adding the emotional reaction is important because parents cannot expect their child to do their best if they are not happy and vested in the college choice.

Prospective college students may feel the pressure to choose wisely but if the college list was a good one, they should thrive at any of the schools offering admission. To receive notification about future articles of concern to parents of the college-bound, click on "Subscribe" near the above photos and go to POCSmom’s website. Connect via Twitter and in the comments section about the 6 best factors to decide which college admission offer to accept.