Comparing your acceptance letters

Closeup of letters on writing desk at home

Tips to help you pick a college.

Getting a college acceptance letter is an exciting event. After months of suspense, you’re probably feeling both happy and relieved. But what if you’ve been accepted to more than one good school? If you’re having trouble deciding between two colleges, here are some steps that can help you work through your decision.

Take note of deadlines

When you receive an acceptance letter, you don’t have to give your answer immediately. However, you should take note of the deadline for your response. As soon as you make your decision, plan to respond yes or no to each college that accepted you. Giving a prompt response allows the school to open up spots for other students who may be on a wait-list.

Revisit campus—in-person or online

When you’re having trouble deciding between two (or more) schools, it can help to revisit the campus in whatever way possible. If you have the time and resources to make another visit in-person, that’s great. If not, revisiting via virtual tour can be the next-best thing. If it’s been several months or more since you last took a tour, seeing it with fresh eyes may make your decision easier than you think.

Dig into the details

If you can picture yourself happily attending more than one school, it’s time to dig deeper for more information about each. Make a closer comparison of the class offerings, the extra-curricular opportunities and advising programs. Look at the details of housing and what the larger community has to offer.

Review pros and cons of each

Take some time to do a side-by-side comparison of the schools you’re torn between. List the pros and cons of each one, with the most important pros and cons at the top, down to the least-important.

Talk about it

Sometimes saying things out loud can help you better realize how you really feel. Talk over your feelings about each school with a helpful listener—your parents, friends, family members or school counselor. Expressing your thoughts aloud might help you better clarify a preference that you already have.

Want to read more about figuring out award letters?

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