National College Decision Day 2022: How to Choose a University


Spring is a busy time for North Carolina high school graduates and their families, from final exams to final to final. To this stress for many adds the deadline for making the final decision on where to go to college.

“College Decision Day,” as it became known, is approaching May 1st. And while no one wants to overwhelm students who are already busy with unwanted advice, college gurus gurus say there are some productive things you can do.

Here’s what you need to know about College Decision Day and how to help seniors in your life make important decisions:

What is College Decision Day?

College Decision Day is a day when most U.S. colleges and universities require high school graduates who have made a “regular decision” to accept or decline admission.

For students who have applied and have been accepted to multiple schools, this means it is a deadline to decide which college or university to enroll in the fall. It is also usually a deadline for students to secure their place with a deposit.

How to decide on a college

Although choosing a college is a very personal decision, experts say there are things that every student and their loved ones can consider to narrow down their choices, including:

  • Setting priorities: Knowing what’s most important to your family at school – from the number of students to Greek life opportunities or research opportunities and more – can help you know what to evaluate when you compare schools, US News & World Reportknown for its college rankings, advises.

  • Deciding or not deciding on a specialty: If a student knows what he wants to study, then it may be worth considering the ratings, faculty, and professional connections of the future school in the field. But, Martha O’Connell, executive director of the College’s nonprofit leadership Colleges That Change Lifes, writes for NPR which is also good to come undecided.

  • Visits (or re-visits to campuses): If it’s part of your budget, adds US News & World Report, visiting the campuses of your future schools can be helpful in the decision-making process. You will see first-hand student life and the community around you, and you often have the opportunity to ask questions to real students, faculty, and counselors. If travel is out of the question, you can look at options for virtual tours of schools.

  • Keep an eye on what’s happening on and around campuses: Some students want to spend Saturdays at a massive football stadium, greeting so loudly that they lose their voice. Others want to see an undiscovered band play in a dive bar or listen to a physics lecture. Some want all three. That’s why, O’Connell advises, you should take the time to check out what’s happening on and around future campuses during the decision-making process to understand what opportunities you’ll have outside of academics. Social networks, local and student media are great tools for keeping track of things.

  • Thinking through your budget: College is a serious expense, often for students and their parents or guardians. So you should compare the offers of financial aid and scholarships you received when comparing schools to see where you get the best value, writes US News and World Report. And don’t forget to think not only about tuition, but also consider other expenses such as housing, food plans, transportation and fees.

  • Remember, there are options outside of a four-year college: Some students, including those who have been admitted to one or more four-year institutions, do not fall into one, and this is normal, O’Connell writes. For a variety of reasons, some students choose to work, travel, participate in service projects, or attend classes at a community college or trade school. Such experiences can help them make money, save money and gain valuable life skills. Students who have been accepted and eventually wish to attend a four-year school can talk to that school about postponing their admission.

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Mary Ramsey is a reporter for office journalism at The Charlotte Observer. A native of Carolina, she studied journalism at the University of South Carolina and also worked in Phoenix, Arizona, and Louisville, Kentucky.

National College Decision Day 2022: How to Choose a University

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