THE FINAL DECISION (from an athletic perspective)
After going through the process of trying to find the right school for the last couple of years, you’ve narrowed it down to a handful of schools, but how do you make the final decision? Certainly there are many factors including academic, financial , job placement, and of course athletic. Our other article will touch on the first three components, while I will cover the athletic piece.
From an athletic perspective what’s most important to you- playing or being at the highest level? Many times this is a crucial mistake made by parents and student athletes. Often I will hear kids are being recruited by solid DIII programs, but they want DI or DII. If your adamant that you want to be at a scholarship level fine, but at least make sure you’re being offered a preferred walk on spot, otherwise you risk the chance of being cut. Even if your offered a preferred walk on spot, it only means you have a spot for the year and will have a tough time gaining meaningful minutes in your career. I’m not trying to paint a bleak picture, just a realistic one. Of course there are great stories, including my partner who walked on for a DI basketball program and received a scholarship for his last three years.
If you really want to play your better off looking at the DIII program. Also, take a look at the roster and see what kind of openings they have for your position. Realize that even at DIII, you will probably be behind a senior or a junior and have to battle for playing time.
What type of coach do you want to play for? Of the schools that you have left which coaches personality fits you best? Be careful of the coach that is very friendly in the recruiting process, but is a screamer on the court/field. While that type of coaching can be very beneficial for some athletes, it might not be the best for you. Think about the coaches you’ve had growing up and which person’s style has been most compatible with you.
Of course, getting to know the other student athletes is key. These are the people you will spend the next few years with and you want to make sure they are a good fit. Hopefully, you’ve met with a few of the players and even done an overnight.
While it’s a big decision, if you’ve done your homework you should be in good shape. As I’ve told past clients when they get down to the last two schools and they are stuck on a decision, we’ve thoroughly researched both schools, so there isn’t a wrong choice.
THE FINAL DECISION (from an NON-athletic perspective)
Making a final decision on where you will go to college seems overwhelming for many families and high school seniors. Throughout the month of April, you have probably visited the schools you were admitted to for a final look, before the May 1st deadline (standard deadline for all colleges/universities). Maybe you have gone to an Accepted Students Day Program, or a campus tour to see if you can envision yourself attending that university. The reality of making a college decision comes down to a number of factors that families and students have to consider. However, making a final decision on what college you will attend isn’t truly as overwhelming as you might imagine. Take a look at the statistics below.
Every fall approximately one million high school graduates begin their undergraduate careers at four-year colleges and universities in anticipation of earning a bachelor’s degree. Fewer than four in ten students graduate in four years, while just about six in ten graduate in six years, according to a new report by The Education Trust, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. In addition, one and every three college students will transfer schools before they graduate from a university, a study shows from “Inside Higher Ed.”
Therefore, as a graduating senior, in order to make the decision you are confident it, you should consider these factors: Communication, Financial, Flexibility with Majors, and Career Placement.
Communication: Students and parents need to communicate about their thoughts. Some parents push their son/daughter to a particular college because they want them to attend, not the student. It’s important for students and parents to talk, and do their best to be on the same page as May 1st approaches.
Financial: Average student loan debt climbed to $29,400 for borrowers in the class of 2013, up from $23,450 for 2009 graduates and $18,750 for 2005 graduates, annual reports from The Institute for College Access & Success show. When making a decision on what school you want to attend, it is important to think about what you and/or your family will pay. Families need to understand the difference between loans and grants, but also how much debt their son/daughter is willing to take on to attend that college. In this day and age, making a smart financial decision on what is affordable needs to be considered.
Flexibility with Majors: One of the reasons students transfer from one university to another is because the college they chose out of high school does not have the major they want to switch into. For example, a student chooses a college for their strong forensics major out of high school and later in their freshman year realizes that forensics is more of a hobby and not a career. It is important to recognize that research has shown that up to 80 percent of entering college students admit that they are not certain what they want to major in, even if they have declared a major. Before graduation over 50 percent of college students change their major at least once. Therefore, choosing a college that has a variety of your interests may be beneficial for you, if you decide to change your major.
Career Placement: Parents ask college admission offices, what percentage of students received employment opportunities or went on to graduate school after graduation? When choosing a college, students and parents should look at their return on their investment. In other words, what is their college degree worth? If a family pays for a student to attend a university, what will their salary range will be after graduation? 42 percent of parents say they prodded their student to pick a collegiate path based on earning potential, and 16 percent of parents say they will have their child change majors to earn more money, according to Fidelity Investments.
In conclusion, think about all of these factors when making a sound decision on where you will attend college for the next four years of your life. Chances are, if you think about and consider everything covered above, you will be confident with your decision.