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The Final Rose: How to Make the Most out of Your College Decision

If you’ve made it to part two, Congratulations! I hope that after all the college searching, the campus visits, and the tour presentations, you are finding yourself between a rock and a hard place: choosing the college that’s the right fit for you! By the time April came around, there were seven acceptance letters that I was deciding between, all having a hard deadline of May 1st (which is National Decision Day for most U.S. institutions). Being accepted to your top choices is often harder than deciding which colleges to apply for in the first place. However, in typical Bachelor fashion, here’s some guidance on how to decide who to give the final rose to.

  • Revisit your priorities and values. Considering how long it was since when you applied, it may be best to reestablish why you decided to apply for the college and/or university in the first place. Were you enamored by the campus’ geography? Saw that your intended major was listed? Loved the internship opportunities? Hopefully, you were keeping track of your favorite parts about where you attended; it will make revisiting them much easier, especially when presented with multiple acceptances. Going off this, you may even want to create a pros and cons list to keep them separate.
  • Compare financial aid packages. This one is extra important! Depending on your economic situation, this is often the deciding factor of where you will be spending your next four years. Usually, the school’s tuition is outlined in extensive detail on your acceptance letter, along with scholarships and grants that you’ve received. ((Remember when you had to fill out your FAFSA and/or CSS? This is where that comes in handy!)) In the event that something doesn’t look right, be sure to call the university’s financial aid office and ask about appealing.
  • Revisit the school! When I was accepted to NYU, they invited the incoming first-year class to a “weekend on the square,” which was three full days entirely focused on school spirit and engaging with other students who were thinking about attending as well. If schedules don’t line up, it never hurts to go on another tour or to stay with a host for an overnight stay, just to get a glimpse on how you would spend the next four years. Especially when it comes to deciding based on the vibe, these are crucial in understanding how the student body functions and what the atmosphere is truly like. That being said, if you do decide on going to an admitted students’ event/weekend, don’t feel pressured into going! Events like these serve as a final opportunity for you to attend the university, and if anything, just go for the food and to socialize.
  • Discuss with your parental guardians. While I fully support your own journey through the college process, there is no doubt that your parents will impact who you give that final rose to. Especially over dinner or during a particularly long car ride, here are some worthwhile topics to consider with them:
    • Would you like me to stay in-state?
    • Would you be okay with me going out-of-state?
    • What are your thoughts on this university?
    • Are we financially able to attend this college?

While it may seem like the college journey consists of only one person, your parents are also going through an internal journey themselves. Which is no surprise! Sending your child away for four or more years is an adjustment itself so I will say this for all the parents reading: be patient and be supportive. I am so thankful to have had two supportive parents who would have been happy wherever I attended, but I will admit that there were times where I lost sight of the end goal and I needed my parents to give me that extra guidance. The best thing you can tell your teenager during this time is that you truly believe that they’ll make the right decision no matter which college they decide on.

  • Don’t rush the process. Unless there was some procrastination along the way, you don’t have to decide where to attend overnight! (If that were the case, the Bachelor would only be one episode long.) It’s not like you’re choosing where to eat out for dinner or which HOBY shirt to wear during the seminar. Allow yourself to sleep on it and let the acceptances speak for themselves.

There you have it! While I know that the process might not get any easier after reading this article, I am thankful that I am able to share some wisdom and insight into what made the process manageable for me. Before I leave you to decide on your college soulmate, there are some things that I want to express before signing off. Making the final decision doesn’t mean that it has to be your only one. Thousands of college students transfer due to certain circumstances, and in most cases, that’s what it takes before finding their soulmate. However, I firmly believe that college (and any situation, for that matter) is a matter of what you decide to give and what your attitude is. The entirety of your experience will not be summed up the day after you move in, and similarly, a fantastic welcome week does not necessarily mean that each year will be as fantastic as the last. College is a time of growth and personal development, and at the end of the day, as long as you’re willing to grow, you will be truly satisfied no matter where you end up.

 


Sean Nesmith is a current first-year student at New York University studying International Relations, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Arabic. As a former resident of Marietta, Georgia, he attended HOBY Georgia Northwest and WLC back in 2016 and now volunteers for both as a member of Junior Staff. When Sean’s not cheering his heart out to the Factory Worker cheer, he indulges himself in watching Shonda Rhimes, eating out with friends, and keeping up with the latest pop-culture trends. In the spring, Sean will be working as an admissions ambassador, so if you see him wearing a violet track-jacket, be sure to say hello!

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