What to Consider in the College Decision Process

Current seniors are left with less than a month to make their college decisions.

Liliana Valdez

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 Known as National College Decision Day, May 1st marks the deadline for seniors across the country to decide what college they will be attending in the fall. It is an important decision, as it will determine how the next four years of your life will play out. Students who received their acceptance letters either last year or early 2021 had plenty of time to decide where they will be attending. However, many schools release their decisions in March, leaving students with a little more than a month to figure out their plans. When deciding on which school to attend, there are many conditions to consider: the annual cost to attend, location, curriculum, etc.

Cost of Attendance

In the past several years, college tuition has risen at an alarming rate. Schools across the country cost upwards of $60,000 a year, some being even more. For many students, these high prices are far too much. Even with financial aid, students have to rely on taking out multiple loans to pay tuition. Scholarships are also an option but do not always cover the entirety of the cost of attendance. Students are left to worry whether or not they will be in debt after receiving their degree. When considering where to attend, taking into account whether one can afford tuition is critical.  Some schools may be considered better institutions, more so than others, but along with that prestigious name come steep prices. No one wants to feel as though they settled with one school over another simply because they cannot afford it. Even so, it is necessary to consider the consequences of attending a school that you cannot afford. In-state colleges are often far cheaper and still offer a good education. Before making a final decision, evaluate all tuition options and figure out which colleges you would feel most comfortable paying.

Location

Location is a factor that is sometimes overlooked when making a college decision. This is the place where you will be living for the next four years of your life and possibly more, depending on the job you get after graduating. Feeling comfortable in a town is crucial, whether it be 20 miles away from home or 300. 

Curriculum

The classes and majors offered at the college should be the factor of utmost consideration. You are paying to attend the school. Make sure that you are genuinely interested in the curriculum the school has to offer.  Each college does things differently. The number of classes within your major you are required to take, grading curves, and the grading system, in general, all vary between schools. Think of which school satisfies your desires best. In the possible case that you are unsatisfied with the major you previously chose, make sure the school has other majors you would be interested in as backup options. 

Deciding on a college is a difficult decision, especially for a 17/18-year-old who has just finished high school. Colleges expect students to make this life-changing decision in such little time. Before doing so, consider all the conditions necessary to make this choice. Besides the categories mentioned, there many other areas to think about before making the final decision. Think about whether attending college at this point in life is even something you actually want to do. Many students choose to take a gap year, allowing themselves more time to think about their future education. There will still be chances to transfer colleges or even drop out. Just make sure that you are happy with the choice you made right now, and hope that you will continue to be content with that choice in the future.