Picture it now: application season is over. You’ve burned your application drafts and used your SAT prep books for confetti.
You’ve got a pile of thick envelopes in front of you. Ah, college acceptances. All your hard work paid off. Now the livin’ is easy, and all that’s left to do besides pay your tuition bill is… decide where to go.
Choosing the right college for you is rarely stress-free. For most high school students, this is the biggest decision you’ve ever had to make. How do you navigate such treacherous territory and figure out what factors elevate one school from another?
We asked a few of our college mentors to weigh in. Here’s what they had to say to the question:
What was the biggest factor in helping you decide where to attend college?
Chris Elias, Brown University: “The freedom to take courses across disciplines that interested me without being bogged down by general education course requirements.”
Lia Lenart, Harvard University: “Financial aid and status. I actually thought a small liberal arts college might be a better “fit,” but decided that these two factors were ultimately more important.”
Mike Mochizuki, Brown University: “Adventure. If I hadn’t attended the school I did, I think a little part of me would have always wondered what life would have been like if I had. #yolo*”
Stephen Black, Harvard University: “Visiting the schools I was accepted to. I went to both pre-freshman (a.k.a. “pre-frosh”) weekends at Harvard and Princeton, making sure to talk to as many current students as possible. Let’s just say my Harvard experience was inviting and enthralling, while my visit to Princeton was overwhelmingly underwhelming.”
Ike Wilson, Yale University: “The most essential thing is simple: do what feels right. After that, you can further weigh your options by reading up on the given schools, by talking to current and former students of those colleges, by taking location and cost into consideration, etc. But the biggest thing is to be honest with yourself about where you’re leaning.”
*#Yolo indeed. Good luck! And if you’re dealing with BAD news instead of good news from the colleges you applied to, read this!
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How did you (or your student) make the decision about which college to attend? How did it work out? Are you deciding on a college right now? Let us know – we want to hear from you!
Need some help with a college application? That’s what we’re here for!