Deciding on a school

You've been accepted, maybe even to more than one school. You now have a big decision to make. What are you going to do?

If you're ready to begin school right away, consider these questions:

* Were you accepted by more than one school? If you were, which one is your first choice?
* If you were accepted at just one school, are you prepared to attend that school?
* Can you and your family afford each school?
* Is the value of the education at a school worth its cost?

There's a lot to consider, and some items will weigh more heavily when making this decision. So, review your options before making the final decision.
More than money: What else is important to you?

Cost is certainly an important factor, but you shouldn't decide on money alone. A recent online poll on student college selections revealed that academic reputation, location, and proximity to home are more important than affordability.

Revisit the reasons that you applied to each school — academics, location, first impression, environment — before deciding.
Dollars and sense

Money is an issue for most students, so carefully study each financial aid award letter. Work with your parents on this: They may have a vested, or invested, interest in your decision.

Think about life after graduation when selecting a school and a major.

* How much is a degree from each school really worth?
* Where will you work?
* How much can you earn? Your school should be able to provide postgraduation job placement statistics.
* How much will the career you're considering pay? Research occupational outlook data at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Need more time?

Don't panic if attending school right away isn't the best choice for you. Not all high school graduates are ready for college.

Instead of jumping straight into a university setting, maybe you'd rather take some classes at a local community college. Or maybe the financial burden of enrolling now has you thinking that perhaps you'd be better off working and saving some money first.

The final decision is yours and yours alone.

Once you've made the decision to enroll, you need to:

* Formally accept the offer of admission.
* Follow the directions in the acceptance letter.
* Respond to the award letter by the deadline.
* Review instructions on housing, grants, scholarships, financial aid, orientation, etc.
* Read the letters carefully; you don't want to overlook any important details.

Congratulations! See you on campus!

Still stressing the cost?
If your award letter has left you short on financial aid for your education, learn about the many Ways to pay and investigate your options.


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