Deciding Where to Enroll During a Pandemic
A recent survey found that almost 26% of college-bound high school seniors are rethinking their colleges choices due to the coronavirus pandemic, and while more than 300 colleges and universities across the US have extended their enrollment deposit deadlines, students will still need to make a decision soon about where they want to attend in the fall. With college visits and admitted student weekend activities canceled or moved online, and uncertainty about the fall, how can students make an informed decision?
The current coronavirus pandemic has upended the school year, cutting short the year for high school seniors during one of the most monumental period of the college admissions process – when admissions decisions are released. Making a final decision about where to enroll isn’t always easy, particularly when students have multiple acceptances to choose from and the option to visit the campus one last time is unavailable. Students need time to weigh their options and choose the college that is the best-fit for them.
Here’s what to keep in mind when deciding where to enroll this fall amid very unusual circumstances.
Attend Virtual Events
A virtual admitted student event won’t be the same as actually visiting the campus, but it will allow students to interact with classmates, university officials, and more before making a decisions about where to enroll. One positive is that since many of these events will be virtual, students might be able to attend more than if they were in-person. This will allow students to get more interaction with their top-choice schools and help them make the most informed decision possible.
Do All Your Research
It will be impossible to arrive at a college admissions decision without knowing as many facts as possible. Before finalizing your decision, gain a thorough understanding of each option. That means reading through each financial aid package and calling the financial aid office with any questions and revisiting your college admissions research to understand what sets each school apart. Keep tabs on social media, recent news articles, and updates on each university’s website to stay in the know about the events going on on campus. Taking a virtual tour can also serve as another refresher to remind you of the campus experience. Also, ask any questions about the fall. Do the schools you’re considering have a plan should campuses remain closed through September? Will instruction be online? How will housing be handled? All of these factors can influence your decision and need to be considered.
List it All Out
Sometimes, listing all of the pros and cons associated with each option can help students compare each possibility and realize the choice that is truly their best-fit. Start by listing out all of the exciting opportunities available on each campus, including unique courses, professors you admire, and extracurricular activities that spark your interest. Then shift gears and make note of more logistical concerns, such as cost, location, and the environment on campus. Include any concerns you have about each school and then examine your lists side by side.
Focus on What Really Counts
It may be tempting, but don’t make your college decision based on where your friends choose to enroll or the prestige factor associated with the campus. While these factors may seem important, they are ultimately superficial: what matters most is choosing a school that really aligns with your needs and goals. Consequently, focus on pinpointing options with opportunities that relate to your interests and passions and a campus experience that you think you can fall in love with. Don’t be afraid to take a step outside of your comfort zone and try something new; growth and personal discovery are what the college admission process is all about.
Once you’ve made your college admission decision, try not to overanalyze it. Instead of rethinking your choice or worrying that you missed out on a better opportunity, focus on getting excited about the opportunities that await at the school you are enrolling in. Join social media groups for accepted students, start looking over course options, and keep an eye out for updates on housing and welcome week activities. It’s important to get excited about this next chapter and make the most of the opportunity from day one.
Making a decision about where to enroll can be daunting, but students who do their research and focus on what counts can be confident in their selection. If you are looking for expert insight into the college admissions process, our team of experts are here to provide guidance throughout your journey.