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Having a Hard Time Making a College Decision? Do This!

I remember scanning the names of students who were planning to attend the night before. I would scour their applications one last time, reminding myself of all the little things I admired about them.

The next morning, I was on a mission. I couldn't wait to meet them—usually for the first time. I wanted the admitted students and their families to feel welcomed. Most of all, I wanted them to have a great day on campus and ultimately commit to the university where I worked. This was and remains the goal for all colleges who host admitted student programs leading up to the May 1st enrollment decision deadline. Colleges want students to say "yes" after visiting! 

As much time has passed since I began my career in college admissions, these programs for admitted students are still the best way to determine whether or not to enroll at a college.  And they are back after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, so take advantage of this golden opportunity.

1. Register now.

Some colleges have multiple dates, while others only have one date. Space is limited so make sure you sign up ASAP.

2. Consider visiting during the week rather than the weekend.

You will get a much better sense of what the campus feels like on a regular basis when visiting Monday through Friday.

3. Avoid visiting campus on the first few nights of Passover and Easter weekend.

Why? Because many students will head home to spend the holiday with their family.

4. Try to narrow your final choices down to two or three colleges at this point.

Trying to visit or revisit more colleges in less than a month is not only difficult to pull off from a scheduling perspective, it is emotionally draining as well.

5. If cost is a factor and you have limited resources, contact your admissions officer as some colleges have travel budgets for admitted students.

6. Review the schedule of events in advance.

The program is usually a full-day event. Make sure you can commit to the entire day.

7. Arrange a meeting for the day of the event.

If you want to meet with someone like a financial aid officer, professor in the department that you plan to major in, or a friend from home who attends the college, be sure to contact them now.

8. Observe the people you see. 

Pay particular attention to the current students attending that college. Those are the students you will be classmates with and you want to be able to visualize yourself finding your own people there.

9. Talk to as many current students as you can.

Getting multiple perspectives ensures greater knowledge of the college.

10. If there is a building, spot, or resource on campus that will be important to your happiness and success while in college, carve out time in your day to take a look—even if it means taking a detour from the schedule of events.

Whether it is the academic support office, mindfulness center, running trails, or special studio space, take a look because this "last stop" will help you determine whether the college is the right place for you.

READ MORE: 5 Things to Do If You Didn't Get Admitted to "The One"

Where to enroll for college is the biggest decision of your life so far. Don't make it based on what you read or hear from others. Experience the college yourself at an admitted student program because that is when your heart and mind connect in a way that speaks the truth about where you belong. Travel safely. Enjoy this moment. And embrace this opportunity to make a sound decision about where to spend the next four years of your life.