Between April 1 and May 1, many high school seniors will be choosing which college they will attend. My suggestion is to make the most of this month by using the time to review and evaluate your options.
Here are three steps that I recommend using to help with your decision:
1. Prioritize. What are your goals for the next four years? Correspondingly, what are the most important categories for you to use to evaluate your college options? I have made a worksheet that includes the following four categories as helpful ones to use to compare colleges:
b) Cost and Financial Aid Information
c) Student Life and Extracurricular Activities
d) Location and Distance from Home
2. Visit. Or re-visit. And research the schools on your "short list" by talking to current students and recent grads. Admitted students’ weekends are great times to see a school for a few reasons. One, there is usually an assortment of panels organized to showcase different aspects of the school including academic departments and student life. Second, students at the school are usually made aware that it is a prospective students' visit weekend, and may make a bit more time in their schedules to speak to prospective students and their families.
3. Evaluate and compare the colleges on your final list. Use a worksheet like the one I’m offering below to compare colleges in categories that are important to you. My list from above (academics, financial info, student life, and location) offers a helpful framework for many students to compare colleges. If you want to add or delete categories from this list because that makes sense for you, go for it.
Get the worksheet here, and print out a copy for each college on your consideration list.