After months of preparation, keeping track of deadlines, and meticulously checking for an update to your admissions status, you’ve found yourself in the best possible situation: you were accepted by every school you applied to.
But once you’ve had a chance to celebrate your amazing accomplishment, you have a pretty big decision ahead of you: how do you choose where you want to go?
It can be a tough choice to make. Here’s how to start narrowing down your options.
Reach Out to Admissions
Follow up with the admissions teams at your schools and let them know you’ve received the news. You can ask them for additional information, including what the next steps are and when you need to notify them of your decision.
Find Out about Financial Aid
Your financial aid package can look very different from one school to the next. Find out as much as you can about your possible financial aid award, and ask what other scholarship or financial aid opportunities you might qualify for now that you’ve been accepted.
Talk It Out
Your family, friends, and guidance counselors may be able to help you sort out your options now, and help you compile a list of pro’s and con’s for every school you might attend. You can also try reaching out to people at your schools to get their advice, including current students, academic advisors, and the often-overlooked (but hugely important) alumni network.
What Are Your Housing Options?
Remember, you’re not just choosing where you want to study—you’re also choosing where (and how) you want to live for the next few years. Check out your schools’ housing options and think about what appeals to you. Whether you decide to live in dorms, suites, or off campus, every type of housing has its own pro’s and con’s.
Think about Your Long-term Goals
Are you interested in pursuing an advanced degree once you’ve finished your bachelor’s? Think about how the schools on your list could help you get into grad school someday, if that’s your goal.
Location, Location, Location
Not all college towns are created equal. Checking out the area surrounding campus—the food spots, the shopping, the outdoorsy opportunities, and so on—may help you decide that one of your schools is the best fit for you.
(And if you’re planning on going to school in the Midwest, be sure to check out our list of the seven best college towns in the region.)
Don’t Pass Up the Safety School
Don’t write off your “safety school” straight away. Think about the potential benefits it could offer, including a lower cost of attendance, more opportunities to get involved in student life, and chances for you to stand out as a student in and out of the classroom. Remember: sometimes the right choice isn’t the most obvious one.
Most schools will give you a deadline to accept (or decline) admission. You may have a few weeks, or even 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.