Decision Day Checklist

In College Admissions on Apr 14, 2016

May 1 is an important date - it's College Decision Day! Many colleges and universities require you to choose a school by this date. This usually entails formally accepting the offer of admission and sending in a deposit. 

Choosing a college is such a big decision and you don't want to leave any details out! Before you make your final decision, here's a checklist to review.

1. Did You Fully Understand Your Financial Aid Award Letter?
Financial aid award letters are complicated, especially if you've never seen one before. All the unfamiliar terms and dollar amounts can be overwhelming! Make sure you are 100 percent clear about your award letter - how much you're receiving in scholarships, what you'll need to pay out of pocket and how much aid you still need. If you're still torn between several schools, it's a good idea to compare your financial aid award letters and determine which school is offering you the best aid package.

2. Visit Campus
Maybe you weren't able to make a visit to one or two of your top schools before you applied. If these schools are still your top contenders, make every effort you can to visit the campus before you decide. If you don't feel safe on campus or strongly dislike a school you want to find out before you choose it, not after you've arrived and started classes! If you're iffy about a school you were accepted to, don't be afraid to visit again. A second look around may help you decide whether or not this is the college for you. 

3. Why Are You Making the Choice?
It's really easy to decide on a school because it's where your parents want you to go or where your best friend is headed. There's nothing wrong with that if you genuinely love the college and can see yourself having a great four years there. But friends and family shouldn't be the only reason you choose a college. Don't be afraid to pick a school where you won't know anyone if you think it's right for you. You'll make plenty of new friends!

4. Does it Meet Your Requirements?
Don't let yourself get caught up in the little details when it's the big things that matter. Focus on what's really important: For most people those things include programs of study, distance from home, size and cost. You may be tempted by luxurious dorm rooms or a campus right by the beach, but if a school doesn't have the major you want or is way too far away from home, you may not be happy there in the long run. Come back to the basics and make sure your chosen college ticks every requirement you have.

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