Accepted? Deciding which college to choose if you have multiple acceptances
There was surely a point in this process when you literally thought you would never be finished with your college application, wasn’t there? And then came the waiting, which also seemed like it might last forever, and all you wanted was to get accepted somewhere. Now, however, as the results have flooded in, and you’ve received a host of positive admissions results, you have a hard decision to make.
For students who were accepted to their number one 100% dream school, the choice is easy, but what we find is that many students have multiple dream schools, or realise through the application process that they could be happy in many places and in many programs. So what do you do when you realise you have a lot of great options and you aren’t sure which how to choose?
To help with this difficult decision, we’ve compiled a list of things to think about as you consider all your college admissions.
What is your “dream” program? Can you live with giving it up for a college that is offering you more money, or may be higher ranked? While it’s important to look at the data points, there are cases in which you just know one school is the right fit for you, or programs that you just know you want to be a part of. Often it is worth listening to your gut instinct and selecting the college that you know will make you the happiest, no matter how good something else may look on paper. Of course this is assuming the cost and other logistics of attending your dream college are feasible.
How realistic are you about your own needs. Remember all those questions you were asked or that you asked yourself in the beginning of this process? Those questions about weather, size, transportation? How diverse the college is? A lot of students ignore those questions initially, but now is the time to understand how they matter to you. Are you really going to be comfortable in a school located in a place where it snows from September to April? Do you want to be in small classroom and know everyone in your class by name or will you be happier in a larger class size? Are you seeking an urban experience in a big city or would you rather study in a small town five hours from the nearest airport? Are you going to be happy being the only international student in the room for most of your time in the college? These are important questions; in fact, they could seriously alter your college experience.
What is the local community like? Does it align with your needs and current interests, as well as your future plans? If you are currently an avid trekker, and you are eager to work in sustainable agricultural solutions, then a massive city might not be the best bet for you, both in terms of your day-to-day life, and the industry you hope to enter, even if you’ve just been admitted to Columbia and it’s the highest ranked college on your list. Of course Columbia may have great off-campus programs that cater to your interests, but you’ll need to research ahead of time. Which brings us to…
Have you done your research? Talk to people! Reach out to alumni, read student forums, ask the admissions office to be connected with a current student. They will be the best source for what the program really feels like and how it works. If there is alumni event in your area, attend it! Or at least get in touch with someone and ask any pressing questions you have about the college. Also, be sure to leverage the expertise and resources of the admissions office – their sole purpose at this stage is to get your offer to convert to a YES. They are at your service and will practically do anything to get you to come.
Whatever you decide, chances are you will end up in a great place with a ton of opportunity. So try to get as much information possible, be realistic about your own needs, and go with what feels like the best fit. In the end, the place where you will be the happiest is going to be the best place for you, no matter what the ranking.