Although many schools have postponed their enrollment deadlines, some are sticking to May 1, which is right around the corner. You may still be weighing your enrollment options. With college visits off the table, the choice may seem more difficult than ever. How do you make a final decision without making a visit?
What’s in a Visit?
College visits let you “see yourself on the campus,” but what does this mean? Usually this is code for “how do you feel about the school?” or “what does your gut tell you?”. Walking around campus on a sunny day elicits a feeling. However, feelings are more often about people rather than places. That is why counselors tell you not to visit on a holiday or a Sunday when there are often fewer people around. The campus does not “feel” right without people.
So – can you still evoke that same feeling without walking around? Absolutely! The campus may be closed but you can still connect with the same people. Contact the admissions office to ask about your options – ask if you can talk with a student ambassador. If possible, also talk with an advisor or professor in the academic area that interests you. Check with your college counselor to find out if they know current students or alums from your high school or local community. Talking with people – hearing their enthusiasm for the campus (or the lack thereof) – will develop your intuition about a school.
Other Things to Consider
Going to college is a family affair. Involve your parents and take their opinions to heart. Together as a family, think back to what was most important when making your original list of colleges (things like – academics, location, size, activities).Four Aspects of “Best Fit”
- Academic: Does the college offer your major or field of study? Are there a variety of options if you are undecided? What will your class sizes be? What academic support systems are in place if you need help?
- Financial: Is it affordable, both for you and your family? Have you been offered scholarships or grants, or will you need loans to cover the cost? Do a cost comparison to see which colleges offer you the best financial aid.
- Social: Harlan Cohen, author of “The Naked Roommate” talks about the importance of identifying PEOPLE and PLACES you will feel comfortable with on campus (see Harlan’s webinar: 7 Big Mistakes High School Seniors Make When Picking a College.) Who will your people and places be?
- Physical: Take an online tour. Review the campus website for other virtual options – 3D or VR experiences can give you a great perspective of the physical campus. Watching a college tour on YouTube is the easiest way to see a college virtually. You can also watch virtual college tours on websites such as YouVisit, CampusReel, and eCampusTours. Some of these virtual college tours are so informative that you will think you have seen the campus for real! Also, do not forget to do a quick research about the weather and the surrounding area.
Review your pro and con lists but give credence to your gut feeling as well. As with any big choice, it should be made with your brain and your heart. And once you make your enrollment decision, look forward with enthusiasm – do not second guess yourself. The college experience is what you make of it. Your attitude and ambition will determine your success as much as the college you select.
This is a thrilling time of your life when you will start making decisions about your future, so embrace the moment. Do not get caught up on the big names, trends, or what others think. This is the one decision you must make yourself and for yourself (after, of course, financial need is met). Your future awaits… Do not delay your plans. Colleges have offered you admission! Now is the time you are trending. Celebrate you! I know I am…
After reading this blog post, if you still need advice on how to make your college decision, simply reach out to us. Here at EdMission Possible, making the right choices lies at the core of our unique Student-Centered College CounselingTM approach. We are here to help you out every step of the way or just to celebrate your choices. Whichever path you choose, never forget that as long as you go with your mind, heart, and, soul, no decision you make will ever be regretful. Is that not the best decision you can ever make for yourself? Congratulations again! I am very proud of each and every one of you…
Happy college decision day!
Burcak Deniz Cakir
Founder and President | EdMission Possible
Burcak Deniz Cakir has a B.A. in Foreign Language Education, an M.A. in English Language Teaching, and an M.B.A., all of which have laid the solid foundation for her professional experiences as an educator. She has completed the College Counseling Program at UCLA, which is known to be the most prestigious certificate program in the profession. She has previously taught English as a Foreign/Second Language (EFL/ESL) in Turkey and in the U.S. at Virginia Tech, Harcum College, Rutgers University (Newark and New Brunswick Campuses), and Pace University. Having taught EFL/ESL at the college level for over 20 years, Burcak can communicate effectively with college-age students from different countries. She is bilingual in Turkish and English. Her extensive experience with international students from many countries including but not limited to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Korea, and China has given her the opportunity to understand their unique problems that domestic students may not be facing throughout the college admissions process, such as but not limited to extra testing requirements (TOEFL, IELTS), the translation of high school transcripts and recommendation letters, different financial forms and statements required, visa issues, being homesick, culture shock, etc.
Burcak is an Associate Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and a Voting Member of the International Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC). She currently lives in Edison, New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, and her four-legged son. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family, reading (lots!) about college admissions and college essays, watching her favorite movies, getting lost in design magazines, and decorating her house.
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