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How to Decide Between Two Colleges

    • 1). Make a pros and cons list. A pros and cons list is the simplest way to make most decisions. The key to using it effectively when deciding between two colleges is to make sure you include the most important factors related to college attendance.

    • 2). Consider first what each college has to offer you. Think about the areas in which the college is particularly strong and whether those areas align with your interests. For example, if you love the humanities and the college is a fine liberal arts college, you might have a great fit. On the other hand, if you hate math and the college focuses on engineering, you might have a bit of a tough time fitting in.

    • 3). Determine how much value you place on prestige. If one or both of the schools you are deciding between come with a lofty name, you might consider that on your pros and cons list. While many successful individuals obtained a higher education at lesser-known institutions (or didn’t attend college at all), there is no question that dropping a name like Berkeley or Stanford during a job interview is impressive.

    • 4). Do not ignore the costs. While it might seem a long way off, the cost of college will hit you like a ton of bricks if you have to take out student loans to fund your education. Consider tuition, of course, but also reflect on the less obvious costs of attending each college, such as living expenses, the likelihood of receiving a scholarship and what percentage of the costs your family can or will contribute to each school. Cost definitely should be on your pros and cons list.

    • 5). Decide which location you prefer. Location is another major factor to consider when deciding between two colleges. You might prefer to stick closer to your hometown, or you might want to get as far away as possible. If the former is true, you might be able to save cash by living at home, or at least find visits home to be less expensive. If the latter is true, be sure to factor in the extra costs of visits home. Weather is another important location consideration. For example, if you grew up in Southern California, think carefully before packing your bags and heading to Buffalo, New York for four years.

    • 6). Get a feel for the vibe of each college. Every school has its own personality when it comes to academics and extracurricular activities. The school might be full of geniuses, party animals, sports fanatics, musicians or an eclectic mixture. Try to get a feel for the personality of each school and which jives best with your own personality, and place your findings on your pros and cons list.

    • 7). Once you’ve written down all the pros and cons for each school, do a side-by-side comparison and see which one “wins,” but don’t stop there: follow your instincts. If the college you really want to go to or feel you must go to didn’t have the most pros, you might want to toss your list out and choose it anyway.



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