Decision Time! You’ve applied and you have choices! How do you decide where to attend?
Now more than ever, you need to think about fit. This little word is so significant; it is important to analyze what matters to you when you envision your ideal university experience. Here are our tips for finding your perfect home for the next four years.
First – Ask Questions
When you are holding an offer, you are in the driver’s seat. The universities that have offered you a place want you to enroll, so they will be eager to help you. You should definitely contact them to ask key questions so you can decide where you most want to attend. You can ask to speak to someone in your major’s department – a current student can be very helpful, and at smaller colleges you also might be able to speak with a faculty member. Some universities hold admitted students’ days in person and many host virtual events. Be sure to attend! These sessions are designed to help you see everything the university has to offer.
Second – Analyze Attributes
Think about attributes like location, size, student body characteristics, access to and types of professors and research labs, and the attractiveness of your potential major – or majors. Pore over the course catalog and carefully read about the electives as well as required courses in your program.How many are there and do they excite you? You can look at other offerings such as study abroad, co-op, and leadership programs. Once you have made a list of what matters to you (see sample list below), you could score these attributes from one to five,
possibly even adding weights for the most important factors. If you do this for each university and tally the numbers up, you’ll have a winner...but if you are disappointed with the result, you’ll know your heart is telling you to go to one of the others! Instinctive feelings matter, so ask yourself why and review the colleges again – or better still, go back to step one and ask your universities more questions.
Third – Assess the Data
Some students have found it helpful to create a university comparison table like the one below. Dive into the data to find the number of undergraduates overall and in your major, how many professors are in your department, and what it will cost to attend. You should also as certain where students ultimately secure jobs or go to graduate school as well as average starting salaries for students in your major. Program reputation as measured by rankings may be interesting to some, but be careful not to put too much weight on these numbers as they can be biased and unreliable. It is far more important to attend a good-fit university that will help you meet your personal and professional goals. Finally, have fun! You have worked so hard and now have a big decision to make. Enjoy the process and be sure
to talk to your Ivy Options counselor if you and your parents would like to discuss your choices. We are eager to help!