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College acceptances received – now what do I do?

Trinity campus center
Trinity campus center
Cathy McMeekan

As admission letters wing their way across the country this spring, many students will find themselves in the situation of being admitted to multiple colleges. It is a great feeling to know that you have many options, but it can also be daunting to make the final decision about which one college you will attend. The students that have one college that is their clear first choice to which they’ve been admitted and they can afford to attend are lucky indeed. For the rest of the admitted student population it is often a less clear choice.

Hopefully by now you have visited all the campuses as you never want to choose a college without stepping foot on the campus first.

So after visiting the schools and with several great college options to consider, it is time to return to the list that started this process in the first place – your priorities in choosing a college.

Ideas, preferences and needs can change between fall of the senior year when you started applying to college and the spring deposit deadline of May 1. Have your priorities changed? Revisit what makes a “good fit” for you in the college experience.

Does the school offer the academic programs that match your interests and needs, realizing of course that you might change your mind on a major at least once during your college career? Does the level of academic rigor match your abilities and how hard you want to work in college?

What is your learning style, and does the college offer instruction that matches how you best learn?

Are you comfortable in the community? Does the university’s social culture feel a bit like “home” to you; a place where you can live and grow for four years?

Has the college demonstrated that they value what you have to contribute to their community? Do you feel wanted and appreciated for what you will bring to campus?

Finally, can you financially afford to attend the college without taking on a huge amount of debt? Factor in the cost of additional years of schooling if it is unlikely you will graduate in four years. You can usually find graduation rates on the college websites or on search engines like the College Board’s Big Future.

Once you have applied all these questions to your list of accepted colleges, is there one that rises to the top? Finally, do a “gut check” about how you feel about your choice. If your head and your stomach agree – send in the deposit!