It’s admit month, and you know what that means! Acceptance letters are coming in fast and it can start to feel overwhelming. So how exactly does one make the financial college decision? Below is a list of five factors I took into account to decide what college was the right fit for me.
1. Financial Aid
Part of the reason you may have applied through QuestBridge was to get a financial package that you could afford. Some people think you should make your college decision based on factors like social life or majors that interest you. While that should definitely be taken into account, it is valid and okay if you have to make a decision based on the financial aid you receive. It’s a topic that may make some uncomfortable but it is a reality for many QuestBridge Scholars and it is okay if you have to make your decision predominantly based on financial aid.
Some students want to stay close to home. Others want to be as far away as possible. Some students want to be in the warm weather. Others don’t mind a change in seasons. Some students want to live in a big city. Others prefer a suburban or rural town. There are a lot of mini-factors entailed within the overarching factor of “location.” It would be best to create a list on what your preferences are regarding location.
3. Services Offered
This factor is not one that many students think of when choosing a college. If things begin to get stressful in college, it is beneficial to have someone to talk it out with. Do research on the policies regarding free meetings with therapists and other services offered for mental and physical well-being at each college. For instance, every semester at Wesleyan there is a month in which students meet with each other and a mental health service coordinator to discuss methods for taking care of your mind and body while maintaining a balanced schedule.
Knowing the size of a school is important because size will inevitably determine the social life and interactions you have with other students in your school. I knew that I wanted to go to a relatively small school while applying to colleges, but not small enough that I feel that I am constantly seeing the same people all the time. Wesleyan has an undergraduate population of about 3,000 people and I have been able to form close relationships with other students while still being able to meet someone different every day.
5. Campus Life
Knowing what activities other students engage in will give you an idea of the “vibe” a school can give off. For example, I wanted to go to a school that emphasized the arts and was inclusive while doing so. At Wesleyan, I’ve been part Terpsichore, a dance showcase that every student can participate in if they wish. I’ve also been able to be part of plays despite the fact that I don’t plan to major in any of the arts. Additionally, the lack of Greek life dominating the social scene and the emphasis on concerts and other musical events are two other factors, which drew me to campus life at Wesleyan. Think about what you like best outside of academics and how your prospective school can offer this to you.