Struggling to Make That Final Decision About College?


by Jason Poole, CBC Director of Admissions

Summer is here, but many recent high school graduates are still uncertain about where to go to college this fall. Much of this late indecision stems from what is known as “analysis by paralysis”; while students are more well-informed than ever due to the abundance of information on the web and social media, making that final choice becomes harder than ever for some. If you are struggling with making that final decision about college, here are some things you can do to help filter out the “static”:

Visit the campuses

If you have researched every available fact and figure about your potential college choices, but haven’t actually ever set foot on the campuses, then immediately step away from the computer. You may have memorized the student-to-teacher ratios, menus in the dining halls and know the costs down to the penny, but you can’t really understand if a school is right for you until you see it firsthand. Contact the admissions offices of your choice schools and schedule tours. If you prefer not to have a formal tour, then at least take a walking visit to the colleges and soak in the experience. You may be surprised at how quickly you can narrow down the contenders with just a simple visit.

Trust your gut

We all know that instincts can be wrong, but there are many times your gut feeling was right all along. Don’t dismiss your impressions and consistent feelings about a particular college. If you continue to feel good about a particular institution, then there is probably a valid reason why that is so, even if you have trouble articulating it. Likewise, a consistently bad feeling about a college is a sign that something may be amiss. If you aren’t sure about how you feel, then take a moment to sit down and talk with a trusted friend or family member. This shared self-reflection might bring out what you truly find important in a college and make the decision that much easier.

Look at the big picture

It is easy to get lost in the weeds when looking at college choices, and sometimes the negatives of a particular institution can be difficult to overlook. Keep in mind that no college, no matter how perfect it may seem, will be without flaws or areas where improvement is needed. That does not mean the college isn’t a worthy place to invest your time and financial resources. While significant red flags and problems should be considered in the decision-making process, be sure to prioritize your concerns and separate the really important ones from the not-so-important ones. Look at each college holistically, and you will get a better big picture view of what they offer. The minor details will fade away, and this will help make it apparent where you will find your best fit.

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