Help! Choosing Between College Offers

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Madeleine Karydes
Madeleine Karydes

Madeleine attended UC Berkeley and double-majored in English and Media Studies. She is now an integral part of the Empowerly team.

We get it: it’s a tough place to be. For students entering high school and working hard to make their future college applications appealing, the question is unfathomable. For those putting the final touches on their completed applications, this question feels like a cloud that will follow you throughout your career. And for those who have actual acceptance and rejection letters sitting on the table in front of them, this question can feel like pulling teeth. How on earth does one go about choosing between college offers? 

First Things First

First of all, we need to get one thing straight: if you’ve gotten this far, congratulations. Seriously, if you’ve been lucky enough to find yourself in a position where you can actually choose between more than one college acceptance, you’re already doing so well! In fact, you’re faring better than a lot of other applicants in this country (or world). A college degree is a huge privilege, and you’ve earned a moment to reflect on how much you’ve accomplished as a young person. And please, remember to thank everyone who supported you getting here. 

On the other hand, I know that kind of encouragement can sound like platitudes. Yeah, we’ve been there. And we get it. Maybe you don’t feel lucky, even if you know you should. It’s one thing to be told “it’s great to get any acceptance at all…” But it doesn’t always translate to real life. If you had your heart set on a dream school that turned you away, or you got waitlisted at all the schools you were most excited about, it stings. Even worse, maybe you’re feeling bad because you dread the thought of disappointing your family or teachers with your choice. 

More than anything else, Empowerly is here to support you finding YOUR best-fit school, YOUR best-fit career path, and YOUR best-fit future. So you can chuck everyone else’s opinion out the window. I give you permission. Even if you feel guilty or ashamed about your potential options because of others’ success (or failures), it’s really time to think about what you need. No one else is going to be there studying, passing classes, and earning that degree for you. So it’s most important that YOU are happy and satisfied.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s get back to the big question: how do you start the process of choosing between college offers? There are plenty of factors to consider at this stage of the game.

How to Choose

Most websites, parents, teachers and guidance counselors will give different advice, much of it different, but a lot of it the same. These are some of the ways to determine the right college for you. When choosing between college offers, we recommend listening to advice that’s universally agreed on by those who have gone through the system or are currently going through it (both happily and those who have regrets). 

What Do You Want?

One of the first things recommended by both U.S. News and NPR is to know what you want from a school. What are your priorities personally and academically? Students should know what they wish to get out of their experience. While some might want to break out and be independent, others might want to simply attend the school that has the best program for their field of study. Some students may want to engage in the social part of things and network while others might want the family feel of a small campus. Whatever draws a student in, they should recognize what they want and choose a school accordingly.

The Money

Being aware of the costs that come with each school is another major factor mentioned by U.S. News, NPR and in an article on Fastweb. This does not mean deciding on a school based solely on how much it will cost but it is certainly important. There is no way of knowing what kind of financial aid package or what kind of scholarships a school may offer. So applying to more expensive schools does not necessarily mean paying that price tag. It also doesn’t mean avoiding it either. Students should be very wary of the tuition costs and the potential for financial aid.

Job Connections

The end goal is to finish college with a degree and knowledge that will lead to job opportunities. Naturally finding a school with connections is better than finding one without. The least sure time of a person’s life should not be immediately after they graduate with a certificate of knowledge. Schools with more job connections or even opportunities for internships or networking can mean the difference between going through college and landing a job in your field and remaining jobless.

While these certainly are not the only ones, these are some of the few that have come up on countless lists of factors to seriously consider.

At the End of the Day…

Finally, we really just want to say it one more time: congratulations on all you have achieved. The Empowerly community is proud of you. If you’d like to connect with one of our mentors to talk your decision through one-on-one, by all means, book a consult below. We can help with your transition to college, finding an internship over the summer, and staying focused on your goals. That’s what we do! 

Questions? Let us know!