Make Your Decision
Your College Acceptance Offer
Once you've collected all those fat envelopes it's time for you to make the decision on which college to attend. You may be surprised to learn that the process has now taken a 180 degree turn since you filed your application: You're now in the position of making the colleges wait as they made you wait while they were reviewing your application.
We Want You!
Colleges that have offered you admission aren't going to wait passively until you have decided. They will inundate you with invitations to teas, receptions, campus "admission days," and other events designed with one purpose in mind - to convince you to accept their offer of admission.
It's particularly important for you to separate the important information you need from the hype of the recruitment "yield" programs (so-called because the colleges want to increase the acceptance rate, or yield, of the students to whom they have offered admission). This is also a time when you may receive direct phone calls from currently enrolled students, faculty, and local alumni. All these contacts can provide you with valuable information. To take advantage of this bounty of interest in your decision, you need to know what else can help you make the best choice.
Make the Best Choice for You
Easier said than done...however, the strategies that worked for you during the first part of your school selection process can be helpful again now. Refer to the list of factors you were considering when you decided where you would apply for admission. See how well the colleges that have offered you admission meet those requirements. Resist the temptation to make a hasty decision until all of your options are known to you.
The best way to make the final decision is to visit (or revisit) the campuses that are still in the running. You may be invited to attend special on-campus events held in honor of newly admitted students. Keep in mind that these events are carefully orchestrated to make the most positive impression possible on you and your parents. But if you look beneath the hype, these events can give you valuable insight into exactly what the campus culture and opportunities are like. By staying overnight in a residence hall, talking with students and faculty, reading the bulletin boards, and eating the food in the dining halls, you'll be able to tell if this is the place for you.
In addition, we recommend using a college comparison worksheet or a search engine that lets you compare schools. As you accumulate information and impressions about the colleges that you've applied to, fill in a worksheet for each school. These notes will help you compare the colleges and help you make the right decision.
Reach Deep Down
Whatever criteria you use to distinguish offers, the decision ultimately comes down to you. Take it seriously and weigh your offers carefully. A lot of money-not to mention four or more years of your life—is involved here. A final thought...you're probably sick and tired of everyone telling you that college is an investment. Well, it's true. But think of it this way: As an investment, you should expect it to provide returns for you. The bigger the returns (in academics, career prospects, lifestyle, etc), the better the chances are that it's the right school for you.