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College Timeline: Making the Final Decision

By the middle of spring as high school winds down to a close, you can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from seniors: colleges have sent their acceptance and rejection letters, and the waiting game is over. But the last step, making the final decision about which college to attend, requires a great deal of thought and consideration. No doubt you’ve put quite some time into thinking about what you want from your college experience when you began the application process, but now that you know where you’ve been accepted your options are less abstract.

Examine Your Options
With your acceptances and rejections clearly stated before you, now you can look at the colleges you selected through a more narrow lens. Reexamine the pros and cons of each school that you considered during your application process. Have any of your wants or needs from a college changed? Have you decided on or changed your mind about a possible major? Have circumstances in your family changed regarding finances or location or need to live at home or visit often?

What new deal-breakers have developed since you began your application process? Perhaps a campus visit has changed your mind about a school, or recent developments in a particular college’s geographic location or community should be considered. Though financial aid is available, it may not be able to fully cover the costs of living in an expensive location such as New York City, so you should also consider your own options for part-time jobs or work-study in each college town. While you may not be able to check every “must have” off your list for one particular college, know what factors are the most important to you and try to select your college based on which one meets the most of your needs.

Make the Commitment
When you’re sure you’ve narrowed down your decision to the right school, you must take action to secure your spot, especially if you will require student housing. Keep your letters in a safe place where you won’t lose them. When you’ve made your decision, your acceptance letter should have clearly stated guidelines for what you need to do next. Today, because so much is digitized, it’s possible that your letter will offer you a code with which to sign into a student database and indicate your decision to attend the school. From there, you may begin getting to know the school’s processes regarding class enrollment and housing reservations.

By the time your high school graduation date rolls around, you should be committed to the college you would like to attend. So while there are quite a bit of factors to consider, be sure to not waste time and get your decisions in as quickly as possible. The sooner your express your intent to attend a school, you can begin researching your financial aid options, exploring your campus housing possibilities, and, best of all, getting excited for your first semester of college.

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