Choosing the Right School: Tips from College Counseling

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After much waiting, you’ve finally heard back from all of the colleges that you applied to, and you have so many great choices. Fantastic! Yet, for many students, this can be an even more confusing time of year as they are still unsure of where they want to go. You might also be deciding between places you haven’t visited (and might not be able to). So, now what?

Our College Counseling Office put together the following tips to help guide you through this big decision.

College counseling tips can help you choose the right school for you.

#1 Take a Trip

If it is possible, revisit your top choices, even if you have already visited. Now you can look around the college without the pressure of “will I get in?” hovering over you. Use this time to meet prospective future classmates at their Revisit Days and ask questions about things that truly matter to you. Think beyond, “does this school have a top business program?” and ponder whether or not you can see yourself as a member of that community.

#2 Do Your Research

Maybe you have a top choice, but there is no way you can go physically visit. Don’t count out the school because of that! Do as much research as you can with what you have. Colleges have great online virtual tours and will often host online chats. Ask your college counselor to get you in contact with another student from your high school that went there. Search Instagram for hashtags of that school to get a better sense of what student life is really like. Colleges have many different options available for you to get a clear picture of what your life might look like on their campus.

#3 Don’t Believe the Hype

Don’t choose a school solely because of a ranking or a lower admit rate. These are not good indicators of how successful you will be there. You know yourself best. If you do better in small classroom settings, a large, highly ranked university might not be the best fit. Think about what matters to you most. Talk to your college counselor to see what they think of your choices.

#4 Feel Financially Comfortable with Your Decision

Speak with your college counselor if the college is asking you to take out a lot of loans. While most colleges are going to require you to take out a loan, you need to think long term about what repayment might look like. There are many great tools online to help you see how much this would cost in the long run. Your college counselor will review the various financial packages with you and help you decipher all of the confusing financial aid information. It is essential to make a decision that will keep you feeling financially comfortable during your time at the school and beyond.

#5 Be True to You

Trust yourself. People, whether friends or relatives, are going to give you unsolicited advice such as “Aunt Karen went there, she loved it and will be so disappointed if you don’t go there!” Always remember that you are the one living with this decision, so go with your gut and do what feels right. This experience is yours!

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