Congratulations, you’ve earned multiple admissions offers from the schools you applied to in the fall! This is a time in your life that’s filled with excitement, happiness, and I’m willing to bet a little confusion on the ultimate next step…where to enroll? With some careful planning, you can lessen the confusion while increasing your confidence about which school is best for you.

Begin by revisiting your reasons for applying to each individual school. Is there a particular major or program that sparks your interest? Do they offer internship or co-op opportunities that could lead to a future career after earning your degree? Remember, while having a wonderful college experience is important the main goal is to come out prepared and ready to compete in the job market. If one of the schools provides something different and unique that you believe would provide incredible learning and training you may be able to eliminate a few off the list.

The cost of higher education continues to skyrocket every year. Do not underestimate the value of each individual financial aid package offered by the various schools. Now is the time to break down what each school is offering and compare and contrast those offers. One of the biggest misconceptions students and parents have is admission or the financial aid offices frown upon communicating with students who were offered admissions. Contact the financial aid office and discuss the package, don’t be afraid to ask for more or if there is anything else available to lower the cost. Trust me, the admissions offer will remain; it will not be rescinded because you or your parents inquired about the possibility of accessing more aid. In the end, the less debt a student can encumber the better, any money saved can be put towards numerous expenses in the future.

Make time to revisit the campuses, mainly the ones at the top of your list. Now that you’re “in” you may have a different perspective or feel for the campus. Similar to when you first considered and saw the school, work on scheduling a time with a professor in the department you plan to study, observe classes, check out the housing, meet with students in the desired major, and what a perfect time to stop by the financial aid office (see above) to learn more about the offer.

Once you’ve made the final selection on where you’ll attend, congratulations, but you’re not done yet. Best to quickly and appropriately communicate with the schools you’ll not attend so they may offer your spot and financial aid to another student. Showing professionalism and gratitude is best and something you will do throughout life so start now by letting those schools know you’re respectfully declining.

Gaining admissions into multiple colleges and universities is a wonderful experience and the culmination of the tremendous effort by the student and parents. Take time to review the different opportunities and make the best decision for you!