the Right College for YOU
the right college is perhaps the hardest, but also most exciting,
part of Getting Into College.
a vast array of resources- from CaliforniaColleges.edu
, to CollegeBoard's College
Matchmaker , to USNews' Best
Colleges In America List- but some of the best advice
you'll receive is in person from friends and family and visiting
the schools yourself.
what factors are most important to you
Do some soul-searching to figure out which of your colleges would
provide the best "fit" for you. Which one offers the
educational and social experiences you are seeking? Here is a
list of factors you might want to think about:
Location: Urban, suburban, or rural campus? How far from home?
Size: How big is the student population? What about class size?
Mix of students: Is the college coed? Are there students from
all over the country, with different backgrounds and experiences?
Academics: Does the college offer programs of study that interest
Does the college have the types and ranges of extracurricular
activities you are interested in?
Will you have access to labs, computing centers, and music,
theater, or athletic facilities?
these characteristics in order of importance to you and see how
well each college matches up.
advice from people you trust
It's up to you to choose the college you want to attend. Although
this decision is ultimately a personal one, it never hurts to
ask for advice from people who know you well and care about your
Talk to your parents - Find out how each school's costs will
impact the family's finances. Be patient with your folks --
picking a college can be an emotional process.
your advisers - Ask your teachers, coaches, mentors, and religious
leaders about their college experiences. Find out what they
liked best and least about their college years -- you might
gain a new perspective on what to expect of the next four years.
Don't forget your guidance counselor - Visit your guidance counselor.
Your counselor knows you well and has years of experience helping
students with college decisions.
to current students
Get first-hand knowledge about what it's really like to attend
a particular college from current students. Don't be afraid to
ask frank questions -- your future college will be home, school,
and work to you for the next four years.
Your guidance counselor can put you in touch with former high
school students who are now attending your colleges.
College admission offices can also give you contact information
for current students, advisers, and professors.
campuses, for the first time or again
Visiting a college's campus can help you see if you "click"
with a school. Ask yourself, "Will I be happy on this campus?
Can I really picture myself here?" Get a good feel for the
school by talking to students, sitting in on a class, and eating
in a dining hall. Don't be afraid to trust your instincts.
rush your decision
Many colleges expect your final decision by May 1st, so you have
about one month to make up your mind. It's understandable if you're
tempted to make a snap decision, just to end the uncertainty and
get the whole process over with. However, try to keep your options
open in case circumstances change (e.g. your parents decide to
appeal your financial aid package or you decide to change your
Once you've made a decision, send in your acceptance letter. Don't
forget to inform all of the schools that offered you admission
of your final choice. You're holding onto someone else's spot.
A simple letter, thanking them for their consideration, but declining
their offer, will do.
there shouldn't be pressure to find the "perfect" college.
Any number of schools can be good fits and make you happy.