Many high school seniors have received, or soon will receive, offers of admission from multiple colleges. Now there is a bit of a role reversal—the student becomes the evaluater, and decider, while the colleges have to wait for results.

Unless your choice is very clear due to cost, the availability of a unique academic program or changes in your personal situation that narrow the field, you should take as many of these steps as possible—before making a decision:

  • Make sure you understand fully the differences in academic programs, including core (general education) requirements; majors and minors available; degrees; electives; etc.
  • Visit or revisit the college (possibly on a special admitted student day); make sure to spend time in the local area
  • Arrange to take a class, speak with a student in a relevant major, or perhaps do both
  • Arrange an overnight stay in a residence hall
  • Speak with someone in your intended field (if you have one) about the school’s reputation
  • Look at student reviews online, like Niche, but remember all colleges have flaws and critics
  • Review comparison data such as retention and grad rates, class sizes, faculty characteristics, entering class stats, campus housing %, etc.
  • Develop a clear comparison of net costs and assess the impact on your future (especially potential debt)

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