It can be tough to choose between two good options. If you’ve been accepted to not just one, but two of your top schools, you may find yourself feeling unsure how to proceed.
We came up with a few ways to work through the decision and break the tie.
(Also, check out our post on what to do if you get accepted everywhere you applied for more advice on how to choose between schools.)
Start with the Pros
Make a list of all the things you like about both of these schools. (It’s OK if the things on your list overlap.) Try to be thorough, and come back to your list at least once to fill in anything you forgot the first time.
Think back to when you first began researching schools, and what made you excited about going to these campuses in particular. Was it the student life? The academic programs? The out-of-classroom learning opportunities?
Then List the Cons
Do the same thing for all the things you don’t like about these schools. (Again, no worries if something overlaps). Be as critical as you need to — think about the food options, the size of the campus, and the cost of tuition, housing, and student fees. If you can’t think of any cons, you might not be asking the right questions of your colleges.
Once you finish your list of pros and cons, compare the two. What stands out to you as a major perk of one school and a major drawback of the other? What are the pros you could stand to give up? Which cons can you deal with?
Get Some Objective Advice
While the decision’s ultimately up to you, it’s a great idea to solicit some outside advice from people who aren’t as close to the choice as you. (That means someone other than admissions representatives, family, and friends.)
Try to find time to talk to a teacher, coach, employer, or a friend or relative who hasn’t been tuned in during the last few months of your college search. He or she can offer an outside opinion, and maybe help you get some perspective.
Then Get Some Subjective Advice
Once you’ve talked to someone outside the situation, reach out to the people who know your circumstances well. Talk to parents and friends and see what they think. Reach out to the admissions representatives at both schools.
If you can, talk to current students at both schools and ask them what they like about their university. An admissions representative may also be able to help you get connected to alumni.
One of the easiest ways to “bottom line” your decision is to see the difference in price — and the difference in your financial aid. Add up your tuition, housing, and fees at both schools and compare how your potential financial aid package will impact your wallet.
Check the school’s website for a “net price calculator.” It does all of the math for you.
Keep in mind that you’re not only choosing where you want to study, but also where you want to live for the next few years. Compare your housing options side-by-side, even if both schools offer similar housing options.
For example, if both schools have you living in a dormitory, look at the details: do you get your own bathroom, or do you share with an entire floor? How many roommates will you have? How far is the housing from the library, the cafeteria, and the student union?
If one option allows you to live off campus, compare costs and logistics. Do you want to drive or bike to campus every day? Is rent cheaper than a dorm? How much will you pay for electricity, water, and internet?
Every type of housing has its own pros and cons, so consider carefully what will work best for your needs.
Remember, most schools will give you a deadline to accept (or decline) admission. You may have a few weeks or only a couple of days. Before you start working on your decision, be sure to take note of when you need to notify each school.
Take a closer look at Purdue University Fort Wayne by downloading our viewbook. It gives you a great overview of degree options, campus life, student housing, and more!