How to Make Your Final College Choice on a Deadline

Most high school seniors only have until May 1st to choose their college for the upcoming academic year. If you haven’t decided yet, it’s easy to feel the pressure, especially as the deadline approaches. However, there are ways you can help yourself make that choice.

Students sitting in a university campus building.

Visit The Colleges Again

You’ve probably visited the colleges you’re interested in at least once, and, in some cases, several times. While it may not be possible for every student to visit a college again due to time constraints, travel, and location, this is something to take advantage of if you can.

You can visit your potential school with a fresh mind. You know you’ve been accepted. You don’t have to worry about that anymore. How do you feel on the campus knowing that? Is it different? Can you really see yourself spending the next four+ years there? You may have a different outlook or even a strong gut feeling on the school knowing this information.

Carefully Review the Pros and Cons

You may have made a pros and cons list for the colleges you were applying to months ago, but now is the time to make a more in-depth list. You’re most likely down to debating between two colleges. Compare everything from the major to the dining hall. Is there one clear winner?

Listen to Advice

There are plenty of places to get advice. First, talk to the people you trust in your life. This could be a guidance counselor, your parents, a teacher, someone from work, or another person you know. An outside perspective could give you a different way of looking at your choice. What do they suggest? What do they think of the colleges?

Another place you’ll want to look at is with current students of the colleges as well as their alumni. They can give you honest opinions about the school. After all, they lived it. You may have had a prior meeting with a student or alumnus (or even an interview). Talk to some other students you hadn’t met before. What are they saying?

And of course: Listen to yourself. What is your gut saying? You may already know the answer. It could be possible that you truly feel one school is a better fit for you, but know that the program at the other may be a bit stronger. It’s important to go with a college you’re comfortable with and can see yourself happy while attending. The program could be slightly stronger, but if you’re unhappy or even miserable, it does you no favors.

Flip a Coin

This may seem like odd advice when it comes to such a big decision but stick with us for a second. If you’re down to the wire with two schools, flip a coin—one school heads, the other tails. When the coin is up in the air, you might find yourself hoping it lands one way over the other. And when it does land, what is your first reaction? Do you feel a little bit let down? Or do you feel validated? Flipping a coin is a great way to get in touch with how you feel subconsciously. (And obviously, the entire decision should not ride on this coin toss, it’s just one of the many tools in your belt to discover which college is right for you).

There are plenty of places to look when you’re trying to decide between two colleges. It can be a truly difficult decision. You’ll most likely be spending the next four years there, so weigh it carefully. However, do remember you have to make your choice by the deadline, May 1st (or even earlier in some cases!). Review everything, ask advice, and listen to yourself. You may find the answer has always been there.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!