After months and even years of researching colleges and programs, submitting applications, and receiving acceptances, the moment has almost arrived: it’s almost time for your child to decide which college they will officially be attending! As they make this exciting final commitment, there are a number of things to consider. Here are some questions you can ask yourself, your student, and your family in order to arrive at the best possible decision for your student’s future.

Revisit your original criteria. At this stage of your student’s life, it’s not unusual for them to have developed new goals for the future or moved on from former interests from the time they began their college search. Take into consideration the academic and personal fit pillars your student has discussed with their SFC advisor: everything from available degree programs and class sizes to distance from home and on-campus culture.

  • Is their original criteria the same as when they first started looking at colleges?
  • If the criteria has shifted, do their current options reflect these new developments?
  • Have any new insights, such as a campus visit that really clicked with your student, arisen since they submitted their applications?

Encourage your student to be honest with themselves and with you about any potential changes and how they’re feeling right now—a lot can happen in only a couple years, and their final decision should reflect their most current interests.

Compare and contrast the financial impact of attending each school. Have your financial circumstances changed since beginning the college application process, or might they change in the near future while your student is at college? Did one college provide a particularly comprehensive financial aid package? Is there any potential to appeal for additional funding?

For many families, the financial pillar is what mainly informs this final decision, but it’s important to keep the other two pillars in mind, as well. Once your student is confident with their final decision, they will have to communicate with the school to confirm their attendance—this usually involves a deposit for housing and a schedule for tuition. Then they will have to decline the other colleges’ offers by logging into their application portal online and indicating that they will not be attending.