It's almost that time! Time to choose the special college you want to attend for the next four years. As the days pass by, your mind is likely revolving around which college you should make your (academic) home. Except there’s one extra thing you have to think about this year when making your decision. If you guessed the coronavirus, you got it! But no need to worry—here are some tips on how to make your final college decision even during a pandemic.
Do your research again
When thinking about college, there are a few factors you must consider whether you’re in a pandemic or not. These include the college’s proximity to home, tuition costs, student opportunities, and financial aid and scholarships. With all this in mind, the best place you can go when you want to know more about a college is their website! Visiting the official website gives you the most information you need to know about that college, including any changes made during the pandemic. These changes may include increased health measures, restrictions for on-campus housing, and campus event updates. Read through what the college has most recently implemented to understand how it will suit your needs as a prospective student. If you need help understanding something or want to talk to a college representative about some of your concerns and interests, visit the “contact” tab on the college’s website to find an admission office’s email and phone number. Although, if you’re making your final decision, it’s likely you’ve been in contact with an admission counselor—so reach out to them again if you can!
Narrow down your acceptance options
After you’ve filled your mind with all the things you need to know about your potential colleges, it's time to start crossing schools off your list. Eventually, you’ll have to choose only one, and at first, this may seem hard to do. You may have specific characteristics you admire in each college you're considering, but you must focus on the most important aspects a school has. Try to make a list of the main things you’re looking for in a school (or refer back to any pros/cons lists you made earlier in your search), and determine which of the schools you’re accepted to have the most desirable traits. Along with this, remember that you’re currently in a pandemic, and that may play a significant role in your decision.
Here’s an example: If University A requires you to live on campus due to its distance from home, but College B is closer and you can decide whether you want to commute or live on campus, which one would you choose? When considering on-campus housing, you have to make sure that you (and your potential roommate) will be taking precautions to social distance and get vaccinations. However, if you’re commuting, you’ll want to make sure you follow proper health measures when you visit campus and maintain a safe distance from your classmates.
Related: Narrow Down Your College Choices
Talk about your options
Talk about all your college options with those who are involved in the process. Your parents or guardians will want to hear where you plan to go, and they may be a helpful resource in deciding which college suits most of your interests. After all, they’re the ones who raised you, so they know a thing or two about who you are. They can also offer you safety tips when you leave for college and help you shop for what you may need to stay healthy. You can talk to your high school counselor(s) to help you make your final decision as well, since they’ve assisted in guiding many students before you. Counselors could have updated college information (such as COVID changes) and statistics about certain colleges, so it would be wise to sit down and have a talk with them about the schools you’re considering.
Finally, talking to current students is a huge plus. Asking students who attend a specific college about the housing situation, student life, and academic opportunities will give you insight into what to expect if you choose to attend. They have personal experiences and knowledge about professors and what their chosen major involves that they probably wouldn’t mind sharing with you to help you out. You can also ask them to share about their current situation on campus during the pandemic so you can be extra prepared.
Time to decide
Now that you’ve done what you can and (hopefully) followed the steps above, it’s time to choose that special college—the one you’re going to attend. When you’ve made your final decision, ask yourself, “What makes this one different from the others?” “Do I think I will enjoy my time as a student here?” “Will I be safe and stay healthy here considering the coronavirus?” When you’ve asked yourself these questions and have reasonable answers, it means you’ve made a good choice! Make sure you talk to your parents/guardians about finalizing your decision and keep yourself updated through the college’s website with any information regarding COVID-19 before you head off in the fall.
Congratulations, you’ve decided to enroll at *insert school’s name here*! It’s time to make sure you have all your paperwork in order so you’re all set for next semester. Don’t fear the pandemic—just be sure to comply with public health guidelines to maximize your safety and that of others while on campus. Try to get vaccinated as soon as you can and look forward to a great academic journey at your college!
Keep up-to-date on the pandemic with our COVID-19 student resources page.