Black man with dreadlocks in dark green coat looking stressed with hands on head

How to Choose a College Once You're Accepted

Accepted but still weighing your options? Before you send in your deposit, here are a few steps to guide you toward your ultimate college decision.

After the initial thrill of acceptance, choosing a college can be a daunting task, especially if many of your friends and classmates have already committed to one. If you’re weighing your options before the standard May 1 deadline, know that it’s okay to be unsure about your future plans. In fact, not having a dream school in mind can help you make a wiser choice about personal fit and overall price. You can use your remaining time to conduct more research on your schools of choice and consider the overall quality of education and student experience, as well as cost and financial aid packages.

Before you send in your deposit, here are a few steps to guide you toward your ultimate college decision.

Do some research on your opportunities

Does this college offer study abroad in over 50 countries? Does that one guarantee paid internships or a chance to work with leading professors? Maybe a certain school isn’t your first choice, but it boasts an excellent Agricultural or Engineering program (or whatever you’re interested in studying). Decide what you prioritize in an education and choose the option that will enable you to fulfill your goals to the fullest extent. 

Related: 5 Things to Research Again Before Choosing a College

Ask questions

Many colleges and universities allow prospective students to email class representatives directly or talk to them through Skype or a video call. Take advantage of this opportunity to ask current students questions about campus life that can’t be answered through a college guidebook or the school website. Their responses may shape your decision by allowing you to better visualize yourself as a part of the student body. 

Attend accepted students day or visit the campus

If possible, visit the college in person, even if you’ve been there before. Seeing it through fresh eyes and meeting prospective classmates is the closest you’ll come to the experience of attending, and you may learn valuable next information that wasn’t covered on previous tours or promotional materials. Some schools even allow you to spend the night to meet current students and get a better feel for life on campus.

Related: 6 Ways to Make the Most of Your Campus Visits

Consider your financial aid packages

With the student debt crisis ballooning and tuition rates rising year by year, you’ll need to make sure that you have a viable college option you can afford. Financial aid and scholarships, whether awarded by the school or outside organizations, can enable you to consider schools you otherwise might not be able to attend and can prove a tipping point between two schools of similar caliber. You may also take advantage of an offer from one school to request an increase in aid from another. Ideally, your perfect college should not only be a match for you academically but financially as well. You shouldn’t break the bank in the process.

Don’t wait for the waitlist

Being waitlisted by a top-choice school is undeniably frustrating, and the waiting game it entails is the college equivalent of purgatory. If you feel certain that this school is your first choice, consider sending a letter of interest and your updated grades. If the admission counselor is receptive, a second visit to campus may also be helpful. Then pick a second choice to commit to before the deadline. Even students who are accepted must often wait until May or June to hear back from the admission office, and you still need somewhere to fall back on if your dream school doesn’t work out.

Related: 3 Things I Learned From Being Waitlisted

Go with your gut

If all else fails, choose the college that feels right for you. There’s no single school out there that’s a perfect fit, but if you’re drawn toward one campus in particular, it’s probably a sign that you’ll be happy there. If you still can’t pick, don’t worry about ending up at the most prestigious school or the one that your family is pushing you to attend. Most students end up loving wherever they go, regardless of whether or not it was their first choice.


When you do make your final decision, make sure you act on it! Notify the other schools of your intent to attend your chosen school and/or withdraw your applications. And don’t forget to actually send in your deposit—within a couple of days of the deadline, of course. 

Related: What If I Picked the Wrong College?! (Here’s What Happens…)

It will feel so good when you make your final colllege choice, but make sure you're confident with your decision! Read up on the College Search Process right here on CollegeXpress.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

choosing a college college advice college choice college search final college decision

About Eliza Browning

Eliza Browning is a high school senior in Connecticut planning to study English, History, and Creative Writing at college in the fall. She edits her school's literary magazine, and her writing has been honored by several local and national publications.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Josiah Kegg

Josiah Kegg

High School Class of 2021

I want to sincerely thank you all for this amazing website that's legitimately helped me find so many different scholarship opportunities. I've been stressing out for the longest time about paying for college since I would rather stay out of debt and have been working days trying to find any scholarship opportunity. When I found CollegeXpress, I discovered many easy scholarships that have given me hope for the future. Thank you and God bless!

Nikole Dixon

Nikole Dixon

$500 Refer-A-Friend Scholarship Winner

Towards the beginning of last year, I was searching for scholarships to apply to through my school, town, websites online, and anything else I could find. I asked tons of questions [online] about scholarships and the best places to find them because I was desperate and I needed as many as I could find. I came across a ton of bogus websites but as soon as I found CollegeXpress, I knew I had to tell other people about it. It was definitely the most helpful site I came across, so I told my friends about it. . . . CollegeXpress is definitely a website worth giving as a source.

Chris Bell

Chris Bell

Bell College Consulting

The college lists on CollegeXpress are indispensable for sussing out creative additions to a student’s list, and the college-specific pages provide terrific commentary and suggestions for related schools. CollegeXpress is among the most trusted sources I use for information for my students.

Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson


CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress showed me that Western New England University was a great match for me both with curriculum and location. CollegeXpress is an excellent resource both future and current college students.

College Matches