Congratulations! You’ve made it… almost.
Seriously, if you’re at this point, you’ve really accomplished a lot. And don’t stress out about choosing which college you’ll commit to. I’ll quickly walk you through it.
1. How do you keep stress low?
| Remember you’re not alone. Everyone and their mother gets stressed out at the end of the school year. But stress isn’t permanent.
| Talk about it. Reach out to anyone you trust and have a discussion.Your school counselor is a great place to start.
2. How much should you consider cost?
| Cost is very important. Put a lot of thought into college cost. Can you afford your “dream school”? What would it be like to graduate with 40K in loans…140K?
| Debt. It’s hard to avoid. You can work summers to offset some loans (it’s what we’re doing!).
3. How do you re-visit?
| Free travel. Some schools might fly you out for free if you ask nicely.
| Talk to more people. Ask new questions and meet with a professor. What is the school really like?
| What’s changed? Are you idealizing this place? Since you applied, have your tastes changed?
| Can’t visit? Set up a telephone call. Look through the school’s website. Take a virtual tour and engage in online forums where other people are going through the exact same thing.
4. Where will you be happy?
| Stuff to do. You can’t study 24/7 (and you won’t want to). Are there clubs/teams that you could be a part of?
| Don’t expect perfection. I don’t think dream schools exist. There will always be something that you don’t like, and that’s fine!
5. How do you compare schools?
| Pros and cons list? Anyone…? It’s nerdy, it works.
| Head to head. Pit two schools against each other. The one that wins gets pitted against another school. Keep doing this until you have a winner.
6. Can things still change?
| Life’s not set in stone. You might change majors, you might break up with your girlfriend, you might transfer schools. Who knows?
7. What does your gut say?
| Trust yourself. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my pros and cons lists that I forget about the feeling that I get from a school. Don’t be like me, consider both.
8. What mistakes do people make?
| They try to go it alone. Always ask for help when you need it. Remember, everyone goes through stressful periods. You’ll get through it.
| They forget about cost. Then four years later…wham! I don’t want to stress you out about money, I just want you to plan things out.
| They pick prestige over fit. The right school for you is the one you will thrive at, not the one with the world-renowned brand.
9. Are there any other things to consider?
| Academics. What programs are you interested in? How much time are you willing to study?
| Location. How will you get to school and back? Will you need to leave campus during school?
| Weather. Will you be able to handle the heat/cold?
| “Random”. Is the food good? What is the school’s religious affiliation? Can you study abroad?