We all knew that this time would come. As the snow melts and spring arrives, all high school seniors are forced to make up their minds about which college they will attend. We have until May 1st to make what is likely the biggest choice of our lives so far. So how do we do it? In this guide, I will help you to make the choice.
If you’ve been putting it off, now is the time to sit down with your parents and discuss the monetary aspect of college. They need to tell you how much they will be willing to pay. Take that amount and add the value of any scholarships or grants that you have received. Then subtract that amount from each school’s tuition, room, and board. The remaining amount of money will need to be covered by student loans. However, before you decide anything, call each school that you are considering and appeal their need based aid decision. Many times, this will yield more ¨free¨ money.
2. Visit Again
You want to make this decision with as much information as possible. It’s worth another visit to ensure that you know the school, warts and all. This time around, try to do an overnight visit or a ¨shadow day¨, a day where you follow a student to their classes and eat in the dining hall.
3. Explore The Area
You won’t be on campus 100% of the time. If your campus is beautiful but you can’t walk one block away without being in a slum, you should be wary of attending. A good surrounding area for a college is one with public transportation, good restaurants with local cuisine, and other colleges.
4. Trust Your Gut
After this whole process, there will often times be one school that stands out to you. However, if you visit, attend classes, explore the area, evaluate costs, and you still cant make up your mind, choose the cheaper option. Your future self will thank you.