Tips for Making your College Choice

Susan Hartley Brisson

Congratulations!  Chances are that if you’ve been admitted to Olin, then you’ve also received a “Welcome to the Class of 2022!” letter from other fine institutions as well.  And just when you think that the work of the college application process is finished, you realize that arguably the hardest part is just beginning:  now you’ve got to commit, to choose, to decide where you want to spent the next four years of your life.  Just when you thought that it was over . . . right?

Too. Many. Options.

Image by Kat Rosenfield.

And maybe it’s easy!  Maybe, you made your mental list a long time ago, and you’ve ranked all your college choices, and you used all those net price calculators on all the websites, and you KNOW what your best choice will be.  And maybe you don’t.  Here’s the reality:  you have until May 1 to commit to one school.  Here are a few suggestions that I found helpful when my own children were making their college choices:

Review your financial aid packages and have honest conversations about what you and your family can afford.  Make sure that you understand your financial aid award and/or any merit scholarships that you’ve received.  At Olin, our Financial Aid team is happy to answer questions, so don’t hesitate to reach out and have a conversation.  College is a big investment, of time and family resources, so making sure that you understand all the costs and benefits of your choices is important.

Come back and visit.  You’ve been to Candidates’ Weekend at Olin, and you’ve probably visited your other college choices too, but perhaps you’ll want to return for another visit.  We host admitted students for visits throughout the month of April.  You can come back to campus to sit in on classes, stay overnight in the residence hall and generally become an Oliner for a day and see how it feels to you.  You can sign up for a day or overnight visit to campus through the form on your Applicant Status Page.

Get all the answers.  If you can’t make it to campus again, but you have questions, you can reach out to our Olin Ambassadors. These Oliners are excited to answer any and all of your questions about the academic and social life you’ll find here, so don’t hesitate to email them.  There are plenty of other members of our community who stand ready to provide whatever information you’ll need to make your final college decision:  our faculty, our Office of Student Affairs and Resources, and our enthusiastic and engaged alumni community.  Email the Office of Admission and Financial Aid (OAFA) for all of your answers – we’ll make sure that you’re connected to the right person.

Don’t wait until the last minute.  When my youngest daughter was trying to decide between her two top college choices, she went through all these steps, and still couldn’t make up her mind.  On the evening of April 27, she decided that she’d just flip a coin – that either choice would be great, and she was tired of thinking about it.  She fished a quarter out of the coin jar in the kitchen, balanced on her knuckle and flipped.  The coin tumbled endlessly (probably in slow motion), bounced off the tile on the kitchen floor and rolled under the refrigerator!  She now claims that the “college gods” were forcing her to actively make a decision.  I’m not advocating for this method of decision making, but whatever means you use, give yourself an internal deadline prior to May 1.

Trust your gut.   As you’re asking questions and reviewing details, don’t underestimate your emotional response to the colleges you’ve been admitted to.  You’re looking for your college home, the place where you will live and learn and grow and evolve for the next four years.  This is not and cannot be an entirely cerebral decision.  Feel all your feelings – and trust yourself!  Have confidence that you’ll make the right decision ultimately.  Because you will.  Just be sure to let us know if we can help in that process over the next few weeks.  Good luck! 



Posted in: Susan, All Admission Staff Blogs