Ultimate Guide to Making the College Decision

Advice to help you help your high school senior pick the right college.

By Anne Vaccaro Brady

Now that all acceptances are in hand, how does a high school senior choose where to go to college? Read on to assist your teen in making that big decision by May 1.

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Advice from college admissions officers Christine Mica, Dean of University Admissions at Catholic University, and Andy Morris, Associate Director of Admissions at Binghamton University, share their expert advice in this post.

The determining factors Some kids will say they just knew they’d found the right school when they stepped on campus, but for others, they need more. Check out my earlier post on figuring out the priorities for your student.

In what I thought would be my final post on this topic (but obviously not), I point out some additional variables to throw into the mix if making the final decision is proving particularly difficult.

Other experts weigh-in The New York Times’ “The Choice” blog is running a series in which Mark Kantrowitz, a financial aid expert, and Marie Bigham, a veteran college counselor, answer reader questions on how to select a college. The questions and answers look at cost, prestige, location, potential majors and more, so definitely check out all five parts.

On USA Today College, Jon Fortenbury of Schools.com shares advice from guidance counselors from around the country on making this tough decision.

Final thoughts The idea of the perfect college for every kid is just that, an ideal. It’s hard to know if your student has really chosen the right school until he gets to campus and college life gets underway. Your job now as the parent is to be supportive and the voice of reason (there is such thing as too much debt). Most importantly, focus on what’s best for your teen.

Share your own advice on making that final college decision in the comments section below.

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2 Responses to Ultimate Guide to Making the College Decision

  1. Great resources and wonderful thought. If at all possible an overnight stay can tell a kid so much. I know that it is not always possible for so many reasons but it can be a huge help.

    • Yes, overnights are great. When that’s not possible, spending extra time exploring a campus before or after a tour can be helpful too. People watching and talking to current students can give a high school senior a sense of whether they’ll fit in at a particular college.

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