More high school students today than ever before are applying to and attending college. As top schools have become more selective, high school seniors are casting a wider net and applying to more schools than ever before. And this endeavor has become easier with the advent of the Common Application, a standardized electronic form which is accepted by over 500 schools in the United States. According to the NACAC's 2012 annual report, approximately one-third of all applicants applied to seven or more schools in 2011, up from only 9 percent in 2000.
The end result of the increased number of applications is some high school seniors are faced with multiple offers of admission. So how to decide? Here are a few questions to ponder for the lucky student who has been admitted to more than one school.
- Have you carefully evaluated the financial aid package and the Cost of Attendance (COA) for each school?
- What type of academic setting is best suited to your learning style? A small class setting or a large lecture hall?
- Do you want a close-knit campus community?
- Do you want a school rich in tradition?
- Are sports, Greek life, and other social aspects important to you?
- How far away from home do you want to be?
- And finally, what does your gut say?
Hopefully, you have thought about the above points prior to mid-April. You ideally considered all of the above before you even applied to the schools. However, if not, now is the time to turn inward and decide what is truly important for your success in college. On which campus would you feel at home? Which colleges bring up positive thoughts and feelings? Where do you envision yourself for the next four years? One final word of advice: Be honest with yourself and do not choose a school solely for its prestige and high ranking, as opposed to one that feels 'right' to you.
Once your college decision is finally made, commit to it, send in the deposit, and purchase the sweatshirt. You are embarking on a whole new adventure. Enjoy the ride.