By the end of March or the beginning of April, students will have heard their admission decisions from their colleges. Many will know exactly where they want to go, but there are those students who face uncertainty about their college choice. Here are some things to consider when making that final choice:
While it’s important how a student feels about a school, it’s also beneficial to look at some objective data. I often tell students to look at retention rates from freshman to sophomore year. I want my students to feel inclined to stay at a school (assuming all things are going well) and to feel invested in their college. This is easier to do when their classmates feel the same way and are also returning to a school the following year.
It’s helpful to make sure that the college offers the student a broad curriculum—what I mean by that is, if the student is unsure of their area of study, they should consider attending a school that offers some choice in terms of areas of study. While a student may start out as a history major or a theater major, the chance of changing majors is quite high. So in this case curriculum matters.
Please help your student to think about the financial cost of college. This is a major investment many of us make in our children. And while those students are very lucky to be given an education, it is not prudent for any student or family to accumulate debt (or more than necessary) in the attainment of a degree. There are federally backed loans which provide help for students toward the cost of their education. But these loans are limited. It would benefit both students and parents to understand the value of an education and the pitfalls of too much borrowing (above and beyond the small loans given to the student through the FAFSA process).
In the end, students can hammer out their ideas by talking to parents and counselors about the best choice possible.