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Where Should You Go?

You look forward to the day you get your decisions, thinking that it will all be over then: things will be decided and you can forget about college applications forever. For some lucky few, this is the case, but unless you’ve been admitted to your top choice, find that you still want to go there, and discover that you can easily afford it, your decision won’t be so easy.

If you’ve got a tough choice, start by going back over your list and reassessing each of your options, including any schools where you were waitlisted. You may find that you don’t feel the same way about them. This isn’t surprising, given how much time has passed since you first made your list as a green idealist. You may also have visited one or two since sending in your applications, and this can easily lead to an about-face in sentiment.

Visit any schools that you haven’t already and which you’re seriously considering, exactly because seeing the campus can reverse your feeling about a place, one way or the other. If you’re on the fence at all, this is a great way to come down off it.

Next, if you’ve been waitlisted by a school, you need to decide whether you still really want to go there. Visiting will again be helpful if you haven’t already been there. It’s important to decide quickly about the school or schools who’ve waitlisted you: if you do decide you want to attend, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting in off the list.

Finally, sit down with your family and try to have a frank discussion about money and where you can afford to go. In your decision, money should at once be a determining factor at the same time that you should strive to make a choice independently of its concerns. You can only make the right choice based on an inexpressible feeling about a place, but at the same time you don’t want to graduate from that wonderful place too deep in the hole. Speaking from personal experience, the author has recently begun paying back a student loan amounting to less than $5,000, and it feels quite enough.

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