High school seniors across the country are finding themselves in the center of a whirlwind of financial aid offers and college selection.  The May 1 national enrollment confirmation day is quickly approaching and colleges are gearing up with much anticipation!  So don’t feel like you’re in the boat alone.  While you’re spinning on whether or not to go here or there, Admissions Offices are anxious to hear from you along with hundreds of thousands just like you!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Take a Deep Breath

While I know the waiting game can be overwhelming at times, know too that there will be a financial aid offer coming soon.  Will it be a full ride?  Probably not, so it’s important to set your expectations at a reasonable level.  However, don’t forget that if you’ve done your homework and presented yourself well, then chances are the school is going to want you!  Why?  Cause you’re that good!

So, take that deep breath and relax.  And when the offers arrive, be careful not to make any quick decisions.  Try and wait until the majority of the colleges you are strongly interested in respond.

Compare Apples-to-Apples

Once that offer arrives, it’s easy to jump the gun.  You’ll be tempted to say to yourself, or some dad’s might even say out loud, “You’ve got to be kidding . . . that’s all they’re gonna give us?  Forget them!”  But be careful not to make any swift judgements here.  There’s more to see than just “College A’s” offer.

Remember, we are likely looking at a number of different colleges — none of which is identical to the other.  So when looking at their offers, consider their Value, Cost and Benefit.  Each of these categories (and you may have more) will carry a different weight according to how they apply to you and your family.

Choose Wisely

While there isn’t a great deal of time to make this decision, it should be taken very seriously.  As I’ve said in the previous two tips, take your time and be sure to compare the colleges fairly.  This will lead to a very wise choice.  Keep in mind that choosing a college that you will fit into can potentially create a deep level of dissatisfaction.  On the other hand, selecting a college that has exactly what you are looking for, meets all your academic, athletic and/or extracurricular and social needs will, by far, become a very pleasant and exciting place to spend your college years.

Get Excited

It’s time to get excited!!  This is the real deal.  It’s what you’ve been planning the last 1-4 years for!  A healthy nervousness is exactly what should be expected.  Set your mind on these upcoming years in anticipation of great things to come!

-Mark Cruver

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