I didn't think college acceptance letters were coming out so soon, but I got into CSULB! So now I'm just waiting on UCI (which comes out by April 30th for transfer students, I believe). Honestly, if I get into both, I'm not sure which school I'll pick since my main criteria this time around was "within commuting distance."
As acceptance notifications are distributed, here's some things to keep in mind when choosing a school.
- Cost: If you're torn between a few schools, which one has the most affordable tuition? Which college-- if any-- is offering more financial aid? Ideally, this wouldn't be an issue, but as things stand, it very much can be.
- Living situation: Will you have to stay in a dorm? Do you want to stay in a dorm? If you're planning on getting an apartment, how expensive will the rent be? What about roommates? This of course factors into the expense portion as well.
- Manageability: If you're working while going to school, it might be a good idea to check out potential colleges' class schedules to see how manageable that would be. For instance, at UCSD, it would've been difficult for me to work as much as I am now because many of the courses I was taking were Monday/Wednesday/Friday or required a small group section on Tuesdays/Thursdays.
- Commute: Is it a reasonable commute? Can you carpool? How much do parking passes cost? For that matter, is parking even widely available, or is commuter parking a bloodsport?
- Programs/Majors: This probably seems obvious, but which schools actually offer the major you're interested in? If two or more do, it might be a good idea to speak with a department representative and determine which school's program would be a better fit for you.
- Counseling: I don't mean the mental health kind-- but if you foresee that as a potential issue for you, that may also be something to look into since a lot of schools'mental health counseling systems seem to range from unhelpful to ruinous. What I mean is, how helpful is the advising staff? A big part of the reason I decided to leave UCSD is because I had no idea what I was doing. Freshmen weren't allowed to meet with academic advisors, and it didn't seem like upperclassmen could have in-depth meetings with them either until their fourth year, by which point it might be too late to fix any mistakes you didn't know you made. Not knowing what you're doing-- especially with how much you'll be paying-- is an awful, paralyzing feeling, and an effective advising staff can make all the difference.
- Environment: Again, kind of obvious. But if you're going somewhere unfamiliar, it would be a good idea to visit the campus and find out what kind of weather and feel the area has. Especially if you're going to be living on campus.
Hopefully this helps!