May 1 is National Decision Day, which is typically the last day for students to send in their deposits and declare their final college choice. Many schools pushed back their decision deadlines to June 1 last year, but most have returned to the traditional deadline this year. (However, don't forget about those offering rolling admission!) For students who need to make a decision soon: a lot of work has brought you to this point. You've searched for colleges, researched them meticulously, applied to the ones on your list, and now you’ve received perhaps multiple offers of admission. You’re almost there—the last step is just figuring out where you want to go in the fall. (Then the real fun begins!)
We know this is a big decision. You might be wondering just what you should do. But we’ve got your back, just like we did during every other step of your college search! This is our best advice on how to make your final college decision, all in one easy-to-access place.
How to make your final college choice
You may be thinking, “Where do I even begin?!” Well, start with these tips, including steps to take and questions to ask.
- Making Your Final College Decision: Receiving multiple college admission offers is a wonderful thing...until you can't choose between them! Check out this advice from a real admission officer.
- How to Choose a College Once You're Accepted: Still weighing your options? This student writer's advice can help guide you toward your ultimate college decision.
- Narrow Down Your College Choices: Follow these steps to help you find the colleges best suited to your needs.
Factors you need to consider
What are your top college criteria—the things you want and need in your best-fit school? Here's what you should consider before making your choice.
- The Most Important Factors for Choosing a College: These are the things you have to consider before making your final choice.
- 5 Things to Research Again Before Choosing a College: You should look into these factors again before choosing a college to ultimately attend.
- 4 Things Not to Overlook When Choosing a College: Don't ignore these four underrated aspects!
- 4 Factors That Impacted My College Decision: A high school senior shares four factors she considered most important when choosing a college.
When you’re really torn between colleges
You’re down to a few colleges. What you need to do now is compare and contrast.
- 5 Steps to Making Your Final College Decision: Check out these things you can do if you’re mulling over multiple admission offers.
- How to Choose Between 2 Similar Colleges: Here's how to pick one college over another when they seem virtually the same.
- How to Tell If a College Is Right for You: Find out the right questions to ask yourself before making your final decision.
- Stuck on Choosing a College? Consider These 5 Things: If your decision isn’t that clear, don't panic—read this article!
Keeping financial aid in mind
An enticing financial aid package could be the deciding factor if you’re not sure which school to commit to.
- How to Compare Your College Financial Aid Awards: You understand your financial aid packages now. So, which school is the best deal?
- 5 Common Myths About Financial Aid Offers: Remember these five things before signing on the dotted line.
- Get More Money by Appealing Your Financial Aid Award: Your initial offer isn't set in stone. If you choose to appeal yours, you could potentially receive more money for college—here's how.
Making the best decision for you
After all, you’re the one who’s going to spend the next four years at this school.
- What if You and Your Parents Disagree About Colleges?: Learn why you need to communicate and how to avoid a huge argument.
- Soul Searching: Finding the Right School for You: Because there's no one "right fit" when it comes to college.
- Video: Deciding on a College: Student Vlogger Toni has some advice to help you out!
All’s well that ends well
If you’re upset with a college’s decision or worried about making your choice, keep these encouraging words in mind.
- Getting Over a College Rejection Letter: This can feel like the end of the world when it comes to your dream college. Learn how can you move on and get excited about college again.
- 4 Questions to Ask if You Get a Rejection Letter: This advice can also help you get past the sting of receiving a rejection.
- How to Write a College Decision Appeal Letter: If you got the thin envelope but know this is the college for you, here are a few ways you could change their minds.
- How to Be Supportive This College Decision Season: Consider how you can be supportive to your friends during this stressful time.
- Changing College Plans Amid COVID–19: Deferral, gap year, community college, or simply staying the course...if you have to make a decision during the pandemic, which is right choice for you ? Get advice from our experts.
Your final college decision is ultimately your choice. Here's to making a great one!
Still undecided? Explore more content on how to choose a college!