Tips for Seniors

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Tips for Seniors

Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos, Managing Editor

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Seniors… Congratulations, you are almost done.  You have applied to a few colleges and you got in!  But hopefully  now you are faced with the daunting decision of which school to choose.  You may have several choices, but instead of choosing a school for the parties, or because you parents may have gone there (both good reasons by the way), you can follow the 10 steps listed below to make an informed and well thought out decision on where you plan to spend the next 4 or maybe 5 years of your life.

1.  Think back to why you applied to each school in the first place.  There was a reason you chose to take the time to fill out the application.  You probably had a favorite.  Is it still at the top of your list?  Priorities change, needs change.  Make sure you are choosing the school that meets your needs now and in the future.

2.  Make a Pros and Cons list.  As you review your reasons above, make a list of what really matters to you.  Some schools have great dorms, some have an amazing greek life, and others have a great degree that you really want.  Decide whats important to you and lay it out in an easy formula.

3.  Make sure you visit the campus if you can.  Obviously this is price and geography dependent, but there is no substitution for seeing a campus close up.  Brochures just camp replicate  what you can learn from an overnight trip.

4.  Focus on 4 years from now.  I know this is hard, but don’t focus on the hear and now.  Think about where you want to be in four years.  Does this college help you get there?

5.  Study the departments and degrees you are interested in.  Most schools have quite a bit of information on line and hopefully you have an idea what you want to major in.  Research the college and make sure that the degree you want is taught in a manner that you think you can thrive in.  

6.  Does the college have a good Career Services center.  The whole point of going to college is to hopefully get a job afterwards.  So does your choice of school actually have a good placement center?  Or better yet, an extensive alumni network?

7.  Compare the financial aid packages.  Even if you are independently wealthy, it never hurts to choose a school that wants to help alleviate some of the financial stress of higher education.  

8.  Talk to you parents for some perspective.  Yes, I know.  They are old and what can they possibly know?  But your parents probably know you better than you know yourself.  And they can provide some much needed perspective at this difficult time.  But also understand that they have their own prejudices and you need to work through those as well.

9.  Don’t take rejection personally.  You are going to be turned down by some of your schools.  It’s not personal.  In fact, it really has nothing to do with you.  As hard as it is to accept, colleges are a business and they are in making decisions on what they feel is best for their institution.  Don’t let it get you down because there is a great school for everyone.  

10.  Be prepared to compromise.  And while there may be a great school for everyone, there probably isn’t a PERFECT school for anyone.  You may find that the school with the best food, also doesn’t have the best dorms.  Or the one with the best academic programs, is located in a place you don’t want to live.  So you will need to look at whats most important to you and compromise on the rest.  

Don’t wait too long.  The deadline is rapidly approaching and while the this is a very important decision, ultimately you will get a good education at many different schools.  But by following the 10 steps listed above, you can narrow down you choices and with a little planning, choose your ultimate matriculation place.

Good Luck!