After the tedious application process, you’ve successfully applied to your dream schools abroad. Now the acceptance letters would come around, which brings you to the next difficult step of the process: how do you choose between two equally incredible schools into which you’ve been accepted? Nimi Jayachandran takes you through important points to consider while deciding which school to accept
Know Your Requirements
When applying to colleges, students are quick to learn what each college looks for in a potential candidate. The same rule can be applied in reverse, as a potential student, what do you expect to get out of attending a specific school? Jerry Weichman, a clinical psychologist specialising in adolescent counselling, sees students struggling with this every year. He instructs his clients to indentify different aspects of college life and to numerically rank each aspect according to the importance it plays in the students’ life. He adds, “When you get a number out of it, you can see how much more it really weighs on their minds.” Another method to approach selecting a college is to think back to why you applied to each in the first place. Erika Coplon, director of the College Admissions Coaching programme at Inside Track suggests, “[Identify] schools that you initially deemed a good fit for you and match this option against other schools.”
Cost and Financial Aid
According to College Board, most students don’t realise how significantly annual tuition differs from school to school. They should take the time to plan out how much tuition, boarding, books, supplies and other necessities will amount to. Most of the time, financial aid offers are sent around the same time as acceptance letters. It is vital to compare costs of the schools and decide accordingly. According to College Board, the annual tuition fees for a public four year college on average costs about $20,000 and for a private college it’s around $35,000. Furthermore, if a student is receiving a scholarship or any financial aid, it is important to understand the nature of the award. “Reach out to the financial aid office to understand exactly what is being offered,” says Myra Smith, executive director of finances at College Board, “Grant aids do not need to be repaid, while loan aid does. Many students do not realise this difference.”
Teaching Styles and Learning Methods
“It’s important that students know what environment they learn and work best in so they can appropriately select a school which caters to their learning style,” recommends Nicolas Tynes, director of College Quest. Some students prefer working in small environments, with more one-on-one interaction, while others thrive in environments where there is more independent studying involved. Whatever the needs are, it is important that the student addresses them and selects a school accordingly. “I found Harvey Mudd College very appealing because of its small and selective classes. It makes us students feel like we aren’t just another number in the system,” says Adithya Jay, a high school senior on his decision to apply to a particular college.
Long Term Goals
“Think about why you are going to this school in the first place. Keep your eye on the end: where do you want to be in your career and financially? All of this has to be weighed,” says Mary Beth Lopresti, the mother of a high school senior who is faced with the decision of choosing a college. You know what your strengths are and what you hope to achieve with them. Look for a college which holds more promise in moulding your strengths to perfection.
Reach Out to Current Students
Whether going on a campus tour or reaching out via social media, finding current students at the college will definitely give you more insight into making a decision. “Current students will really give you an idea of what life will be like as a student at any given university,” says John Katzman, founder of The Princeton Review. If you are not able to directly visit the campus, the next best thing would be to get in touch with students who currently attend the school. International colleges will inadvertently have social media pages through which you can easily get in touch with students from similar backgrounds with whom you can share your doubts with and get their feedback.
If You’re Still Unsure…
Alright, so you’ve done all the research and made your a list of your pros and cons, but are you still confused about what the right decision is? “Flip a coin,” says Katzman, “if you’re honest with yourself, you’ ll know how you want it to land.” On a serious note, remember that you’ve already crossed the difficult part and have been accepted. There is no wrong choice. Don’t rush your decision; review your options and you’ll surely find the best college for you.
Volume 4 Issue 8