I know what you're thinking. Your mind is already made up. College A is too rural. College B is too urban. College C is too big. College D isn't big enough. But what if I told you that even if you visited all of your colleges prior to submitting your applications, your opinion of each college WILL CHANGE once you get admitted?
Why? Because you are in a different position now. You hold the cards, not the colleges. You are older, wiser, and more mature than you were even just a few months ago. There is something so crystallizing about a return visit once you've been admitted. So before you deposit at one college, you've got to go back and visit some of the colleges you were admitted to. I guarantee you that your mind will get blown by how differently you react to the colleges as an admitted student.
So here's a plan:
1. There isn't a lot of time between now and the May 1st reply date. Narrow down your choices and pick a few colleges that you are seriously considering and try to visit them.
2. Colleges offer specific days when admitted students can return to campus. Sign up. You get to meet other students who might be your future classmates, and you get to spend time on campus without the pressure of wondering if you even have a chance of getting admitted.
3. Interact with faculty, eat in the dining halls, sit in the center of campus when classes are changing, and look around at your fellow admitted students as the a cappella group sings the college's anthem. There will be a moment when you know exactly what you should do.
"When deciding which #college to choose, make a trip to each campus. During each visit, there will be a moment when you know exactly what you should do." TWEET THIS
4. Spending a full day on campus can be more helpful than even staying overnight in the dorms. Overnight visits can go swimmingly well if the admitted student gets the perfect student host, but they can also turn a student off from the perfect college. The fact is there is a big difference between a high school senior and a college freshman, and sometimes the student host forgets that. It doesn't mean that every student on that campus is like the inattentive host, but the admitted student sometimes convinces themselves of this.
5. Be willing to challenge your own preconceived ideas about where you should end up. What you thought you might want months ago may change the moment you step on a college campus as a newly admitted student.
As all of my students share their good news with me, I often hear them say that they've made up their mind about where they want to enroll even before returning to visit the colleges that admitted them. I understand. They want to end all of this uncertainty and commit to one college. But before they do and you do, consider going back for one last visit. It will be more enlightening than you ever imagined.