Accepting your acceptances

Accepting your acceptances

Angelique Gingras, Author, Editor

Imagine: You are getting ready to apply to one of which is your dream school. You’re not worried because you’ve been involved in a lot and kept your grades up. A few days before the deadline, you begin second-guessing your college decisions. Within days, you’ve applied to five more schools because you’ve felt you could do better. Flash-forward a few months, and you’ve received all (or most) college acceptances back, and you have no idea what to do.  

This is exactly what I’m going through now, and I’m sure some of you are too. Although, the specifics may not be the same for all of my fellow seniors. Some of you may be preparing to go out into a career field and are feeling uncertain about selecting your dream job. Whatever the case may be, determining what you want to do for the rest of your life during high school is not easy, but here are some tips I have learned to help me narrow down my college acceptances.   

  1. Think about where you will fit in academically. Like me, I’m sure most of you applied to one or two safety schools. Applying to these are always important as they are a good fallback option, but if you got accepted to a school where you had to take the SAT three times just to get the score you wanted to apply, it’s worth the consideration. No college is “too easy” I’m sure, but if you got into a school that you didn’t think you would get into, I would move that up your list.  
  2. Create a spreadsheet. It may help to have certain aspects of each college laid out side-by-side so that you can compare one another. On a spreadsheet I have created, I have listed some of the most important things I want to consider when it comes to picking a school including sports, activities, housing, and class size. Using this method, I have already narrowed my options down a considerable amount.  
  3. Get answers. This method is great to get you comfortable with your school environment, whether it is visiting (or revisiting) the campus or speaking to your admissions counselor. Those who work on campus have the greatest knowledge about whether it is a right fit for you, even if they do not know about your other college options. By visiting the campus and meeting people, you are gathering insight about what student life is like. The best way to imagine yourself at your prospective college is to see it for yourself firsthand.  
  4. Assess your financial aid award. Money is very important when it comes to choosing a college. I do not want to be paying off student debt for the rest of my life, but I also do not want money to deter me from my dream college. There are hundreds of scholarships available out there for any school, not to mention those that apply to particular schools. My best advice is to evaluate those schools from which you’ve spent time working to get money. 
  5. Remember, in the end, it is your decision. Don’t let anyone influence your decision about which school you want to go to unless it is your parents, and it is a matter of money. Apply because you want to apply and challenge yourself. Accept the one you think will be best for you, not the one that others expect of you.  

I hope this advice helps you narrow down your college or post-high school decision. I plan on using these tips as I pick out my dream school, but they can help you out in terms of anything you plan to do. Assessing all your options and taking time to organize your priorities is pivotal to your life-changing decision.