Tips for Making a College Decision During Coronavirus
You got accepted to college—congrats! What’s next? Making a decision.
Choosing where to go to college is an important decision that can sometimes seem overwhelming. Trying to make a college decision in the midst of a global pandemic and the resulting uncertainties can seem even more challenging.
We can help you navigate your decision during this time as you narrow down your choices. Don’t forget: you’re not alone. Thousands of students are in the same situation and this information will hopefully help make this process easier and less stressful.
Before you begin, determine where you are in the process and how you want to get started:
1. I want to organize all of the colleges I’ve been accepted into.
Stay organized by making lists. We suggest the following as a way to assess everything and see if you have any more steps to take:
- Write a list of all the colleges you have been accepted to. This is a great way to put everything down on paper and feel good about your acceptances.
- Write down any steps you have left to take (filling out the FAFSA®, applying to other colleges you are considering, and comparing financial aid awards) before making a decision.
- Check in with yourself, and put in some thought on how you’re feeling: what are your concerns? Has the coronavirus situation changed your thinking about college? What are you most excited about?
- Lastly, write down at least 3 different people you can contact for questions or concerns about college. This may be a friend, your favorite teacher, your aunt or uncle, or your school counselor. Different people will be able to answer different questions, so take advantage of your support system.
Once you make these lists and evaluate what is in front of you, you can start narrowing down your choices and compare your colleges by with the Compare Colleges tool on BigFuture™.
2. I want to think about one specific college.
If you have one college in mind or want to learn more and focus in a school, we recommend making a list with the following:
- What do you have left to do for this school? Is your application submitted? Have you added this school to your FAFSA? When is the deadline to make a decision?
- A contact-log of who you have spoken to at this school, when, and what you learned from them. This way you can keep detailed notes about your experience with the college.
- How do you feel about this school? Do some reflecting and write down your feelings, along with the pros and cons of going there.
- Do you have any additional questions or concerns about this school? The BigFuture College Search tool is a great way to learn more information about colleges.
3. I have some general questions.
Deciding where you want to go to college can be challenging and it’s important to get answers to all the questions you may have. A great first step is visit the You Got Accepted—Now What? page on BigFuture. This article will answer general questions about the process and help you narrow down your choices by:
- Getting more information about each college and where to get answers for your questions
- Virtually visiting or revisiting the colleges on your list (check the college websites for virtual tour options)
- Comparing each of the colleges and their financial aid awards
- Making your decision
- Responding to each of the colleges, including contacting the schools you are turning down
4. I have no idea where to begin.
Don’t worry—you’re not alone. Many students are in the same situation and don’t know where to start. We recommend, as in step #1 above, to start by making a list of all your colleges and any questions you may have. Reach out to the appropriate person for these answers by either emailing your school counselor, talking to your parent or guardian, calling your friend, or visiting the Making a College Decision section of BigFuture.
You can also connect with a mentor. Strive for College is a free, online mentoring program that helps high school juniors and seniors pick the right school, apply for financial aid, and find scholarships with the help of a mentor. Sign up to be paired with a mentor to help you through the process.
Another great read is What to Do After You Get Accepted to College, which can provide you with more tips on how to make a decision and next steps to take once you have. Don’t forget to check the deadlines for the colleges that accepted you, so you get your enrollment deposit in on time. Also, many colleges have virtual tours or chat rooms for prospective students, which is a great way to connect with the school when you cannot go in person.
Congratulations on getting into college and preparing for your next step. For more college planning guidance and tips, visit bigfuture.org.