by Ashley McCarrick

If you have not read the last blog, Excitement, Tears, and the Daunting Task of Choosing your College, Part 1: Your Mindset, do not read any further until you do. If you approach this decision in the wrong order, you are more likely to make a mistake.

Did you read it? Ok then, now it is time to look at the facts and make your final decision.

1. Compare financial aid and scholarship packages

What is the total cost of attendance at each college? Do these figures include expenses for travel, housing, all meals, parking, fees, etc? Will you graduate with debt, and if so, how much debt? When you are evaluating costs, it is important to compare apples to apples.

2. Understand the terms of any loans, grants, or scholarships

Do you need to maintain a certain GPA? When does the repayment of loans begin? You will need to understand the fine print that applies to your financial awards to ensure that you can keep them throughout your college experience.

3. Confirm the details of your intended major or program

Review the course requirements for your major. Investigate the alternatives you would have if you decided to switch majors. Revisit the qualifications of the professors in your department and any notes you have from meetings with staff.

The final step in the process is to do some soul-searching. Seek the opinion of trusted adults in your life – parents, counselors, teachers, relatives – but rely on your own feelings. This will be YOUR experience, not theirs. Make an educated, clear-headed decision that you are excited about. Then go online and pay your deposit and declare your intent to enroll.

Congratulations! You are going to college!

Ashley McCarrick is an Executive Director at KD College Prep. She has been serving KD students since 2007 and enjoys helping teenagers discover their dreams. In her free time, Ashley delights in spending time with her daughter, Lilley, and volunteering with various local organizations. You may contact her at a.mccarrick@kdcollegeprep.com.