First of all, congratulations. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably started receiving acceptance letters from colleges. Now you’ve got a big decision ahead of you: which one do you pick?
The best way to navigate the nerves? Consider your options before making your final decision. You’ll be glad you did.
Make sure to evaluate the different choices you have. If you’ve applied to other schools, have you heard back from all of them? Read each acceptance package carefully and note the “respond by” dates (usually May 1), if you’ve been accepted for any sports programs (if that applies to you), and all relevant financial aid details.
If you don’t have strong feelings about the schools (if there wasn’t one school that just really stood out to you), Consider attending an “accepted students” day. Many schools now offer special visit days (or weekends), which are great opportunities (especially for those who couldn’t attend a college visit or tour before applying) to:
- See what life is like on campus, and what students do for fun
- Sample the dining hall food (more important than you think!)
- Meet current faculty, staff, and students and ask questions
- Meet and make new friends with other accepted students
- View dorms and residence halls
- Take a sample class
In addition to comparing the social and academic “fit,” make sure to closely review your financial aid offers. Your cost/financial aid package is made up of a few components, including:
- Total cost of attendance
- Scholarships awarded
- Financial Aid granted
- Cost of living, including meal plans, dorm fees, and transportation costs (if applicable)
You’ll want to sit down and have an honest discussion with your family regarding your financial situation and what you can realistically afford, if only to be on the same page. For many students, the amount of financial support that’s available can make the decision for them, and that’s perfectly okay (and a very smart, responsible way to approach this next part of your life).
So, we’ve come full circle; now what?
After considering financial aid and familiarizing yourself with the campus and student life, you should be in a good position to make your final choice. The next steps would be to follow the instructions outlined in your chosen school’s acceptance letter, and to briefly reach out and politely inform other schools that you won’t be attending so they can free up your space for another student.
Schedule a visit to IPFW’s campus today and check out what the Mastodons’ Stomping Grounds has to offer.