Picking a college to attend seems easy to everyone…everyone except you! So how do you decide where to attend?
Maybe you had a favorite school. That favorite school accepted you and offered you enough funding to make it
affordable. That was an easy choice…go to Favorite University.
Maybe you were accepted to one college (you only applied to two). Again, easy decision–attend where accepted.
But what if you were wait-listed to colleges in your top three, denied to your favorite school, accepted at two but
the one offering the most money is somewhere near the bottom of the list. So you take everyone’s advice and
go visit. You realize that you like both schools but the one offering the most money is still not your favorite.
Besides, what if you are taken off the wait-list? Then what? The stress and confusion make your head and
Choosing a college is both a logical and emotional decision. When the emotions take over, your head and
stomach hurt. To clear the confusion, pull out that list of things you made that were important in a college:
major, location, weather, food, cost, job placement, sports offered… Which colleges meet the most on this list?
Remember, you do have to pay for college and pay back those loans. Though your emotional self may like one
college a bit better than the other, will you still like it when you are emotionally and financially struggling to
pay off the cost of that college?
Finally, that wait-list. First, call those colleges and ask what percentage of students are taken from the wait-list.
Ask what kind of financial aid is available to the wait listed students. It could be you get an offer in August
but it is at full price.
Rather than gambling with your education and future, accept your best choice college and decide to make it
your favorite college. Once you get there you may decide it should have been your favorite after all.
Susan Teerlink is the accountability and admissions coach for College Funding Advisors, LLC,
located in Harrisonburg, VA. She was also a co-author on the book Secrets Of How To Avoid
Overpaying For College and is involved with GRASP, the Great Aspirations Scholarship
Program, a non-profit based in Richmond, Virginia. You can read her other articles at