It seems like only a few short months ago that you were in the thick of the most difficult part of the college application process – actually applying! You spent countless hours writing essays, perfecting your resume, requesting transcripts, teacher recommendations and much more. As the acceptance letters start rolling in, remember to take a moment and congratulate yourself! You have worked extremely hard to get to this point and you should be proud. However, ultimately you will call just one school home for the next four years, so now comes the tough question: how do you decide which one?
As a prospective student, we gave you some tips on how to choose the right school and some important factors to consider: academics, location, extracurricular involvement opportunities and financial support. But what does this decision look like through the lens of an admitted student? The stakes may seem a bit higher now, as you move beyond exploring several options and start to narrow down your list to those final few schools. Here are some steps you can take to ultimately find the right place for you:
1. Visit Campus
This might be your first, second or third time to campus! Maybe you visited as a high school junior for a general Information Session and Tour, but now is the time to take it one step further. Consider joining us for Be Boulder for a Day or Admitted Students Day this spring – these programs are specifically designed for admitted studentsand to answer all of your questions and help you make that final decision. You will have the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff from academic programs, sit in on a class with real students, eat in one of the dining halls, and hear from current students about their experience and why they chose CU Boulder. At the end of your visit, you will have a pretty good sense of what it is like to be a part of the Buff community– and we hope you will choose to join!
2. Talk to Current Students
Whether this happens during your visit on campus or in conversations with peers or friends of yours who have chosen CU Boulder (or other schools you are considering) – the best way to learn about your potential home for the next four years is through the lens of other students just like yourself. Why is this good advice? Well, as you consider specific academic programs, research opportunities and more – it can be hugely beneficial to reach out to faculty and staff across multiple departments for more in-depth information about what each of these offices has to offer. However, hearing from current students about their experience on campus will give you a different perspective on academics, social life and the campus community than a faculty or staff member. Current students were in your shoes not too long ago making the same tough decision – take advantage of the opportunities you have to learn from them.
3. Understand Cost of Attendance
Your college education is a major investment of your time, energy, brainpower and, of course, your finances. Financial aid can be one of the most confusing parts of the college process for students and families – and that’s okay! Grants, loans, FAFSA, work-study, scholarships, deadlines…it is a lot of information to decipher. Fortunately, the Office of Financial Aid is here to help. If you have applied by the priority deadline of February 15 for federal and institutional (CU Boulder) aid, you should start to receive your financial aid package later this spring. Once you have received your financial aid packages from each of the schools you have been accepted to, you can use this information in conjunction with everything else you know and have experienced about each school to thoughtfully consider the best fit for you academically, socially and financially. Our staff works year-round to ensure students and families are equipped to make the most informed decision possible regarding your education. Have any questions or concerns? The best thing to do is ask, ask, ask!
At the end of the day, there are many colleges of universities out there that offer stellar academics, opportunities for involvement and a great sense of community – so my biggest piece of advice is to not put too much pressure on yourself to find the “perfect” school. In many ways, your college experience is what you make of it, so do your homework and follow the steps above as you narrow down that final list, go with your gut and prepare to fall in love with your new home!
Office of Admissions