January admissions deadlines have come and gone, meaning that students are anxiously running to their mailboxes—or inboxes—for those highly sought after acceptance letters. Receiving multiple acceptance letters is ideal, as it gives students the opportunity to choose where they begin (or continue) their studies. However, choosing the right school can be a stressful decision. Here are some tips on how to sift through your acceptance letters and find the school that’s right for you.
- Consider cost. Analyze each acceptance letter to see what scholarship or financial aid package each school offered. Cost should be a major factor in your college choice. Maybe you got into your dream school, but a state school offered you a 75% scholarship. Assess the difference between tuition, and decide if it’s really worth tens of thousands—or even hundreds of thousands—of dollars to attend the dream school. Student loan payments might not concern you now, but you do not want to be paying them off when you’re in your 40s, either.
- Consider location. Do you want to be close to home, or have you dreamed of living in a different part of the country for college? Do you want warm weather year-round, or do you not mind trudging to class in the cold and snow? Answer these questions when assessing your college choices to find a school in a location that suits you.
- Assess your major. If you know what you’re going to major in, choose a school that has a good academic program in your field. The highly ranked university might have a better overall profile, but the smaller college or state university might excel in your field. Choosing a school with a strong program in your field can go a long way in landing you a job after college, as employers likely have a good history hiring employees from your program.
- Evaluate the future. Where you will spend the next four years of your life is important, but what is even more important is what you will do after you graduate. The school you choose plays a major role in shaping your career. For example, if you are choosing a law school, choose one in the state in which you want to take the bar and, ultimately, practice. Think beyond the next four years to make the right choice for your higher education.