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
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
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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