Right now, high school seniors have a big decision to make: where will they go to college?
Even in the best of times, the college decision can create uncertainty, anxiety, and overwhelm. Right now, this level of angst about the future is especially heightened. In addition to leveraging an expert admissions consultant, there are several things, including a few adjustments for the current circumstances, that will help make this process a bit easier.
Typically, we suggest that students visit each of their top schools again. In a normal year, it’s a great opportunity to get a feel for the campus and surrounding area, audit a class or two, and have off-the-cuff conversations with current students. Many schools hold “accepted student” days for just this purpose.
This is not a normal year. Physical campus visits are out of the question while we stay at home and practice social distancing. Fortunately, there is a playbook for choosing among college acceptances right from your own home. This is the same process we recommend for students who can’t make additional college visits after being accepted (often for financial reasons).
Here’s what to do before choosing which college to attend:
Follow university admissions on social media. The colleges that have accepted you probably have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Follow them. The colleges may be offering alternatives to accepted students' days. They will also give you a window into the college itself.
Reach out to the admissions office. If social media channels don’t present a clear alternative to an accepted students day, call the admissions office and ask about it. For more general information on which colleges are hosting admissions events (online) or changing deadlines, check out this NACAC list.
Return to your college research. When you put your college list together, you likely visited schools, took campus tours, and researched colleges online. Dig up your old notes and review them! You can also review any supplemental essays you put together for the schools under consideration.
Take a virtual tour. The internet saves the day again! Many schools have virtual tours available (and many more schools are likely adding virtual tours right now). Here’s one resource for finding virtual college tours; a simple online search for “[school name] virtual tour” should also produce good results.
Connect with a current student. College students may not be on campus right now, but they still have plenty to share about their experiences. You may be able to connect with a current student through the admissions office. If not, put a request out on social media and use your personal network to find students at the schools you’re looking at--you might be surprised by how easy it is! You can also reach out to us for help.
Review financial information. Compare any scholarship or financial aid offers from different schools. Talk with your parents to see how much of a role financial considerations need to play in your college decision-making. Your family’s circumstances may have changed in the last couple of months, so be sure you’re all on the same page during these conversations.
Think about life after college. How well will college set you up for life after graduation? Check out the Department of Education's College Scorecard to review metrics like graduation rate, average salary after college, and annual cost. Additionally, sites like Niche.com have an "after college" section that provides data on median earnings after graduation, job placement, and student debt.
Above all, trust yourself. If you’ve followed our guidance all along, you’ve done the hard work of finding schools that are a great fit for you. At this point, you’re choosing one of several excellent options--and that’s not a bad problem to have!
If you’re still feeling stuck or want some additional insight from college admissions experts, please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-714-5262. We’re standing by and here to help.
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