Making Your Decision About Where To Go To College

Making Your Decision About Where To Go To College

  • by
  • Apr 24, 2020
Yellow directional arrows pointing in three directions

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to college. Now it’s time to make a decision about which college you will attend. With the uncertainty of today's world, it's more important than ever to think critically before you decide.

Review your options.

You applied to colleges you thought would be a good fit for you academically, socially, and financially. Now is the time to consider what is most important to you as you weigh your options. Which college best matches your current needs? Use our Making Your College Decision worksheet or Google Doc to help you consider all the variables.

  • It's likely that the coronavirus has had an impact on what a good fit college will be. You can still apply to many colleges if you decide you need a different option for next year. Or consider a degree partnership program that allows you to be dual enrolled at both a community college and university.

"Visit" the colleges.

If you have already visited the colleges in person, pull out your notes or think back to the time you spent on campus, meeting current students and faculty members. If you haven’t been able to visit in person, check out virtual tours or talk to a current or former student at the college.


Consider all the costs.

The cost of college is more than just tuition. It also includes housing, transportation, and other costs for all of the years you will be in school. Use our Comparing Costs & Financial Aid worksheet or Google Doc to review your financial aid award letters and calculate your out-of-pocket cost — what you will actually pay. Calculate your total cost for all of the years you will be in college as well as your estimated loan repayment.

  • If your financial situation has changed due to COVID-19, you can ask for a review of your financial aid offer. Use this free tool to help you write the letter, then download and email it to the financial aid office to start the conversation.

Look at the data.

Use the information at collegescorecard.ed.gov to learn more about student success at your college. This site provides data on graduation rates, median salary 10 years after graduating and the percentage of students who are paying down their debt (that is, they are not defaulting on their student loans).

Talk it through.

It can help to talk through your options with parents, a teacher or counselor at your school, a trusted adult or even a friend or sibling.

Know there is no right answer.

There are many colleges that might be a good fit for you. And your decisions might be different from what friends or family think. Know that if a college doesn’t end up being a good fit, there are options to transfer or change colleges.

Follow up.

Once you have a made a decision about where you plan to attend college, you need to notify the college. You may also need to complete additional paperwork to accept your financial aid package. You should also notify the colleges you will not attend.

  • Many colleges have opted to extend their decision deadlines to June 1.
  • Most colleges require you to pay a deposit to hold your spot. If you have decided to attend a college or university but are unable to afford the enrollment deposit, you can ask for the fee to be waived. Work with your counselor to fill out and submit the NACAC Enrollment Deposit Fee Waiver Note: colleges are not required to grant the request.