UChic Advice: Making Your Final College Decision

By Kelly Leslie, Student at San Francisco State University

Calling all high school seniors! Have you made your final college decision yet? Acceptance letters will be arriving soon, and it's going to be time to make the big decision before you know it.

This is a stressful process for many, but it doesn't have to be. All you need are a few tips in narrowing down your options and your stress will turn into excitement in no time. Sit back, relax and think about what what you really want to gain from your collegiate experience.

Looking for campus housing?
This is a key factor when determining which school you want to attend. Most freshmen enjoy the dorm room experience, but not all schools offer this. You'll definitely want to do your research and find out your living options. It is also important to consider the student life experience on campus, because living there means spending the majority of your time there. Some schools are considered commuter schools and don't always have a lot of extracurricular activities during the off hours. A great way to find out what a campus is like is to visit! If you can't make the trip, look up the university's website and see what kind of clubs are offered to residents.

Interested in going Greek?
This is something you'll want to consider if joining a sorority is important to you. Every Greek system is different depending on the university. Do you want the experience of living in a sorority house? Greek life was a very important part of my final decision but so was living in a big city. I quickly found out that schools in San Francisco don't offer sorority housing, but they do have sororities! I was definitely willing to give up the experience of Greek housing to be able to live in the city, but this is one of the decisions you will have to make for yourself.

The sororities on campus vary by university as well. You won't find all of them at one school. If there is a certain one on your mind, you'll want to make sure there is an active chapter at the school of your choice. College Board is a great resource for finding all of this information. All you need to do is type in the name of the school you are considering, and you will know if it is still in the running for your final decision instantly.

Are you a sports fanatic?
Many schools offer great sports programs, but not all of them are competitive. If you are looking to join a serious sports team, it is important to make sure the school you choose will give you the best experience available. Also, many schools have very popular sports teams and the games are fun to attend, but keep in mind that not all schools are like this. If attending football games is important to you, you'll want to make sure they have a team!

Location, location, location!
How far are you willing to go? I personally knew that if I wanted to give myself the best collegiate experience, I needed to go far enough away that I would not be able to visit my family on the weekends, but I also wanted to make sure I was close enough that I could easily reach them if I needed to. I chose San Francisco, which is a seven-hour drive from my home in southern California. Even though this was a major stretch at first, it was the best decision I have ever made. Remember that if you want an experience away from home it is good to stretch yourself, but it's OK to find a school closer to home if you are not ready to leave yet. 

Keep your head up if you aren't accepted to your first choice.
This may seem like the biggest decision of your life at the moment, but you won't even remember it when you are finally there. Take a breath and remember that this is meant to be an exciting time in your life.

Image: scottchan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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