By Deborah Williams
Since most colleges want a decision from accepted incoming freshmen by May 1, the month of April often is filled with much anxiety and stress. Caralee Adams’ recent post, “Countdown to May 1: Advice on Making the Final College Choice,” on the College Bound blog on the Education Week website provides some useful things to consider when a student has to make a choice among multiple colleges.
Here are some suggestions for prospective college freshmen:
- Consider your instincts. What was it about the school that made you apply? Has anything new happened to change your original interests?
- Write the pros and cons for each of the schools that you are considering. Include everything—including the superficial—in the lists.
- Scan social networking sites and other online reviews of each college to get a sense of each college community. Other online student opinion portals include College Prowler, Unigo, and RateMyProfessors.
- If contacted by alumni for congratulatory calls, use that opportunity to find out their reasons for choosing that college and what they would change if they could. Ask similar questions of family members who are college graduates.
- Research other features of the college: its size and location, class size, teacher-to-student ration, opportunities for research, internships, and activities. What about its distance from home?
- If you do not have a definite career path in mind, look into the range of courses, curriculum, and majors that are available.
- Look into the financial aspects. Learn the total costs—including grants and loans. What kind of financial burden will a particular college put on your parents? What about work-study programs?