Decisions, Decisions…

Northwestern or Johns Hopkins? Dartmouth or Cornell? University of Michigan or University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill?

This is the time of year when some of my students, like so many others around the country, are trying to figure out which college to go to. They have multiple good choices and now they are looking at all the variables, from curriculum to quality of life to location to diversity to climate. It’s a hard process, but it’s nice to have choices.

Here are three tips about how to approach that decision:

1. Consider finances.
College is fearsomely expensive. Don’t let all that beautiful ivy pull the wool over your eyes. While we are all hard-wired to lust after a picturesque college experience, you must remember to be an informed consumer and consider your best deal.

2. Talk to people.
Go to your accepted college visit and really talk to people. That includes students, teachers, admissions staff, and anyone else you choose to. Now is time for intangibles and you can only start to hear those when you get into conversations with people.

3. Remember that nothing is irrevocable.
Although this is a momentous decision and you’re likely to make the right one, if you don’t you can always change things up. That’s what transferring is all about and many students manage to transfer successfully and happily. Sure, it’s not your first choice–but it is an option.