4 Questions to Ask Before Depositing
Congratulations! You've been admitted to college. You are probably receiving (daily) emails from different schools asking you to submit a deposit. But before you do, ask yourself these four questions to make sure you are choosing your GRAND fit school.
What is the cost of attendance, and how do I plan to pay for it?
By now, you should have received your financial aid letters showing which types of funding you are eligible for. You’ll need to compare these awards to the cost of attendance, which may require research if they aren’t clearly listed in the letter. Be sure to factor in books, transportation, and personal expenses. Families are often surprised by the costs of specific activities, like Greek Life, so budget accordingly. You may have options to lower your cost by choosing a cheaper housing option or a different meal plan, so weigh your options. Once you have that number, determine where the difference will come from. Parents, are you planning to cover all costs, or are you expecting your student to contribute? Communicate with your student before allowing them to commit to a college. If student loans are part of your plan, check out a student loan calculator, like the one from FinAid, to see how much your monthly payments would be and the amount of interest you would pay over the life of your loan.
Will I be able to study my chosen major, and what will it look like?
Often, students tell me they’ve been admitted to a specific college, only to realize after reading the letter that they weren’t admitted to the program of study they wanted. They may be pre-Business or admitted to Communications instead of Journalism. If you are in a pre-major, investigate what it takes to go into that field. Some majors are extremely competitive, and a few colleges don’t allow internal transfers for specific programs. If you have your heart set on a particular field, are you willing to compromise? Also, look more into the opportunities you will have within your major. See how the classes and research opportunities compare at your different schools to find the place that best aligns with your goals. If you are undecided, how much support will you have helping you select your major? And will you be limited in your choices later on?
Can you see yourself living in this area for the next four years?
If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit, try your hardest before committing. If you are financially unable to, reach out to admissions to see if travel stipends are available. Sometimes they can find a place for you to stay on campus or reimburse your travel. If you can, visit the campus, explore the area, and see how it feels. You are choosing your home for the next four years, so you should find a comfortable place that will help you grow. Sign up for our newsletter to receive a copy of the GRAND Guide to Campus Visits for questions to ask during your college tour.
If you plan to transfer to a different school, will the college you choose now best help you reach your goals?
If transferring to a different college is part of your plan, be sure to do your research now as this can be an incredibly difficult process. Some colleges have articulation agreements or guaranteed transfer opportunities for students, making transferring a breeze. Other colleges complicate the process by not accepting certain credits or requiring particular courses depending on your major. Look into the transfer section of the website to figure out precisely what you will need to take at your first college to be eligible to transfer. Some schools have a database where you can check which credits will transfer to the institution, while others will require an evaluation after you are admitted. Also, most colleges don’t give scholarships to transfer students, so revisit question 1 regarding your financial plan before committing to a school.