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When Choosing Your College Isn’t Easy

Dobler College Consulting's College Admissions WorkshopsMaking decisions is a funny thing. If you’re like me and big decisions are something you would rather put off sometimes, this time of year can be tough if not completely agonizing.

The national commitment deadline of May 1st is just four weeks away. By now you have your acceptances and financial aid awards in hand and are trying to decide where you will spend the next four years. If there is a clear cut choice, good for you! If not, here’s some ideas for you to consider as you try to decide:

1. Think about why you applied to these colleges in the first place. What was it about each college that you were drawn to and are these reasons really in line with your VIPS? If you don’t know what your VIPS  are, take a step back and figure those out first.

2. Majors. Some colleges may have admitted you directly to your major while others may have admitted you as an undeclared student. You will want to consider this point carefully if your goal is to major in a highly competitive and technical field. Sometimes the road to such a major isn’t a big deal while other times it can be incredibly difficult and frustrating. Just ask any student who was not admitted to a nursing program.

3. How much is college going to cost you? You really need to take a good, hard look at your financial aid awards so that you fully understand how much money the college is giving you and how much you are taking out in loans. Then project out that loan amount over four years and use an online loan repayment calculator to figure out what your monthly payments will be. These are REAL numbers. If they feel good, that should make your decision a lot easier. If they hurt, you need to pay attention to that pain.

At the end of the day, you need to choose the college that you feel is best for you. Sure, talk to your parents and friends about your decision, even listen to their advice. But, make the choice that works for you.  This is your college experience, not anyone else’s.

And keep in mind that, no matter where you go, your success is dependent on you.

If you go to class and work hard, initiate relationships with your professors, complete several internships and fully invest yourself in all the opportunities that college has to offer, you will find success in college and in your life.

If you have any questions about VIPS, comparing financial aid awards or just choosing the right college for you, please use the comment section below. You can also email me directly at for help with any aspect of your college search and application process.

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  1. John Carpenter

    As always, Eric, your advice is on target and logical. I’ve shared it on our school’s Facebook page for my own kids. Thanks,

    1. Eric

      Thanks John!

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