CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! YOU GOT INTO COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!! Please enjoy this burst of enthusiasm, then follow the steps below to pick your home for the next four years.
Step 1: Check yourself
Remember the Seal of Approval you just received? And the Minions who cheered your successes? And NAUGHTY BY NATURE?!?! They are evidence that you are incredible and lucky and in a very privileged spot. Did you know only 7% of the world’s population holds a college degree? And if you are reading this advice, that means you have the legitimate option of not only attending college but having the choice of where to attend college. So when you find yourself being stressed/dramatic/overly public in the decision making process or insisting “I can’t even,” take a step back and be grateful for the wonderful problem you have on your hands.
Step 2: Narrow the field
Strap on your practical pants and trim your list down to two or three options. Write off any schools you cannot afford (appeal financial aid offers if you think you can’t make them work, then decide affordability from there), any schools that don’t offer what you want to study, and any schools you’re just not that excited about. Like the boyfriends and girlfriends you take on in high school but inevitably shed in years to come (Just kidding – It’s true love and you’ll totally be together forever!) put the past in the past. Once they’re off the list, email to decline your offer and leave them behind you.
Step 3: Meditate
Find a quiet space, and think about your feelings, your values, and your goals. Push away the noise and opinions of others, and focus on what YOU want to get out of the next four years. What kind of location, resources, people, and vibe will allow you to thrive? Will you flourish if uprooted from your comfort zone or will baby steps be more appropriate? What matters more: Location or size? Vibe or brand recognition? Sports or research? Be honest with yourself through the good and the bad and rank your priorities.
Step 4: Get nosy
The tables have turned and now YOU get to be picky. Be a good self-advocate and find answers to questions that matter. Whether your concerns are about academics, sports, food, student life, career placement, or whether your teacup pig named Bacon is allowed to live in the dorms: ask away. We (aka the royal we, aka admissions officers) want you to come to campus and are happy to facilitate this, so get in touch and we’ll connect you to student, staff, and faculty as needed.
Step 5: Play pretend
On Tuesday, wake up and tell yourself you’re going to College A. If others ask, tell them too. Spend all day with the decision made, and just see how it sits. On Wednesday, do the same with College B. It’s very likely that you’ll “wear” one more comfortably than the other. The college you pick should feel natural, like a pair or trusty, worn-in sneakers.
Step 6: Just decide already
Once the research is done and questions are answered: Listen to your heart, pick a school, and rest assured that all will be well. Does this feel too simplistic for such a momentous occasion? It’s not, I promise. And I’ll let Mere tell you why.