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The Benefits of Having a Green Card for College Admissions

Holders of U.S. green cards are granted permanent residency in the United States, making their dreams of a life in America possible. Permanent residency status comes with a myriad of advantages, including in college admissions. U.S. universities are known for their quality and prestige, and holding a green card boosts your chances of enrolling in one of these world-renowned schools.

Easier Admissions Process

Holding a green card simplifies the admissions process for both you and the college. First, you can save time and reduce stress by eliminating the need to apply for a U.S. study visa—which is not guaranteed to be approved.

However, holding a green card also makes it more likely to be accepted by college admissions teams in the first place. The many colleges throughout the United States are highly diverse, so each has its own circumstances, but many highly ranked schools cap the number of slots for international students at 10 or 15%. If you hold a green card, you can compete for the remaining 85 to 90% of slots reserved for U.S. citizens or permanent residents instead.

Furthermore, if you’re interested in applying to a vocational college or a two-year technical institution, having a green card will prove an asset. Such schools receive far fewer international applicants than the highly ranked universities, meaning they are far less experienced with international admissions and would prefer to deal with students who do not need to apply for a visa.

Cheaper Tuition

The biggest drawback to studying in the United States is the tuition rates, but holding a green card can slash these rates by up to 80%. If you hold a green card and are applying to schools in your state of residence, you are eligible for in-state tuition fees, which are sometimes dramatically lower. The rates depend on the schools, and while some schools do not make this differentiation at all, in many cases, green card holders can save at least some money on their tuition fees.

Ivy League schools tend to make smaller distinctions between in-state and out-of-state tuition fees, but they may still offer reductions for in-state students.

More Opportunities to Work

In addition to the high tuition fees, international students also have to grapple with restrictions on their ability to work during their studies. Generally, they are only permitted to take on-campus jobs and are limited to 20 hours of work per week. International students who have already completed one full academic year and who can demonstrate a qualifying economic hardship may apply to be allowed to seek off-campus work but are still limited to 20 hours a week.

Green card holders, on the other hand, enjoy all the same freedoms as U.S. citizens. They may find employment on or off campus and may work full time if they wish. Unrestricted work opportunities lighten the burden of tuition fees, which may already be reduced thanks to in-state subsidies.

How Can You Obtain a Green Card?

Many people obtain a green card through employment or family connections in the United States, but for prospective students with no U.S. family connections, these routes are not feasible. International residents often apply to the green card lottery that takes place annually, but applicants’ chances are slim, with only 55,000 visas being awarded among the more than 20 million who apply.

Another option, for families that have the funds, is the EB-5 program. International families who value U.S. higher education can take this route to help ensure a U.S. college degree and a better future for their children. The EB-5 program is an easy way to secure a green card in exchange for investment in a U.S. business.

As investments are inherently risky, there is no guarantee that making an investment through the EB-5 program will grant you a green card. However, if you work with an agency such as EB-5 Affiliate Network (EB5AN), your chances of success are drastically elevated. EB5AN runs EB-5 regional centers that cover 27 states as well as Washington, D.C., and has already helped countless investors obtain green cards and realize their dreams of a life in the United States.

If you think investing in the EB-5 program is the right path for you, visit the EB5AN website to learn more about how the program works and how to select a best-in-class EB-5 project. The advantages of a green card are manifold, including but also extending far beyond higher education opportunities, so an investment in the EB-5 program is an investment in a better future for you, your family, and the United States.

What to Do When Waitlisted

For a lot of college applicants, spring represents the culmination of many months—years, even—of hard work. This is when they find out whether they will be attending their top-choice school in the fall. However, many students fail to prepare for what happens after the college letters come in. Although applicants often experience happy tears over acceptance letters or bitter disappointment at rejection, thousands find themselves instead on waitlists for their favorite schools, leaving them feeling confused and frustrated. They haven’t necessarily been rejected, but neither have they been accepted. While some waitlisted students hold out hope for a late admission, others may decide to opt for the certainty of a second or third-choice school to which they were accepted.

If you find yourself on a college waitlist, don’t give up hope! Keep reading for tips on what to do next to enhance your chances of admission.

Why Do Colleges Use Waitlists?

First, it is helpful to know why colleges put applicants on a waitlist. Schools often use waitlists to meet enrollment goals, review applicants in further detail, or replace students who end up retracting their acceptance. The number of students placed on a waitlist each year, as well as the number actually accepted from the waitlist, varies greatly from one school to another. While some colleges accept most of the applicants on their waitlists, others accept very few or even none of their waitlisted applicants.

For example, in 2015 Penn State accepted 1,445 out of the 1,473 students on its waitlist. In contrast, Stanford admitted none of its waitlisted students that year, and the previous year it admitted only seven. Knowing how your particular school typically uses its waitlist may help you decide whether to take your chances and wait it out or move on and select another school.

It is also important to understand that being waitlisted is not an indication of your failure as a student. In fact, it is likely that the admissions committee really liked you and thought that your application was compelling, but there were simply many other students who submitted stronger applications. You will likely never find out how you ended up on the waitlist or exactly how close you were to being either admitted or denied.

How to Improve Your Chances of Acceptance

Remember that it is your choice whether to remain on the waitlist or not. If you are no longer interested in the school and have no intention of attending even if accepted, call the admissions office and request to have your name removed from the list so you don’t unintentionally take a spot from someone who really wants it. On the other hand, if you are serious about pursuing acceptance, you should actively demonstrate interest in the school to improve your chances of being admitted.

Getting accepted off a college waitlist requires proactivity, persistence, attention to detail, and creativity. When you consider that most students do absolutely nothing at this stage—that they simply wait—you realize that this is your opportunity to stand out. This is your opportunity to let the admissions officers know that you still want to attend their school, and that if you are admitted off the waitlist, you will eagerly attend.

The best thing you can do at this point is write a letter or email to your regional admissions counselor. Express your continued desire to attend their college and explain the reasons why. Be sure to update them on any honors, awards, achievements, improved grades, or even job promotions that have come about since you submitted your application. Ask your high school to send in a transcript with your current grades, and see if one of your teachers will write a recommendation letter for you. This letter should speak to your attributes and provide information to the college about why they should accept you and what they would be missing out on if they didn’t.

Don’t Overdo It

Be careful not to pester the admissions office. Avoid calling them every day or sending a stream of emails, and do not inundate them with every little thing that you have done since you submitted your application. In addition, name-dropping endorsements or recommendations from prominent individuals (e.g., your aunt on the school board or a highly successful family friend who happens to be an alumnus) are also not advised. Such actions are unlikely to improve your chances of acceptance.

Instead, aim for one strong attempt at making an excellent second impression on admissions with an impactful and concise presentation of information. Select only the most important recent accomplishments to pass on, ones that will set you apart from the other waitlisted applicants, and send them all in one email to your admissions counselor. If you have a lot of questions, write them down in a list so that you can ask all of them during a single phone call to the admissions office.

Create a Back-Up Plan

Last, but certainly not least, make sure you have a back-up plan. Regardless of how many students a college accepts off their waitlist, there will always be students left on it. In all honesty, simply being on the waitlist sets the odds against you. What if you end up as one of the students who remain on the waitlist? It’s also important to note that colleges sometimes make waitlist decisions as late as early fall, but deposit deadlines for most schools are around May 1.

Sending in a deposit to your second-choice school ensures that you still have a college to attend if you aren’t accepted off the waitlist. However, keep in mind that you will lose the deposit if you are taken off of the waitlist and enroll at your first-choice school. If you weren’t accepted into any other colleges, it may not be too late to send in more applications. Some schools have later application deadlines, and perhaps you’ll find a great fit among these options. Other alternatives include taking a gap year or enrolling in a community college and then taking another shot at applying to your preferred school.

There Is Always Hope!

Waiting is hard, and being placed on a waitlist can make you feel hopeless, but there are many things you can do to pass the time and improve your chances of acceptance. Follow the tips above and do your best to keep a positive attitude throughout the long wait. Most importantly, resolve now to make the most of any outcome. Even if you aren’t accepted off the waitlist into the school of your dreams, you can still pursue the career you want, and isn’t that the point anyway? There is always hope.

Things You May Have Missed in Your College Admission Planning Process

The college admissions planning process can be overwhelming. Important tasks can sometimes be missed as you work to stay on top of your homework, prepare for standardized tests, take part in all-important extracurricular activities, and enjoy some much-deserved down time.

Don’t fret. There are ways to ensure critical details do not slip through the cracks and keep you from feeling inundated with so many things to do.

Time Management Strategies

Managing your time effectively is one way to avoid slip-ups and will be critical to your college planning process. Your priority will always be to study hard and prepare for tests. Use that time wisely and then put these time management tips to work to regain precious minutes in your day:

Plot out study time at home in one-hour segments. At the end of each 60-minute block, enjoy a break of five or 10 minutes to relax. But be careful not to get distracted by long phone, text, or IM conversations.

Prioritize tasks and assignments weekly. Plan your work in advance. Don’t procrastinate. Work in increments so you are not pulling everything together the night before a due date. Your project will turn out better and it won’t feel like so much work. The time closer to the due date should be used to strengthen your project and double-check the finer details.

Focus on getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night. This is especially beneficial the night before standardized tests (usually Friday nights for Saturday tests). You will be able to work more efficiently and effectively with plenty of rest. Exhausted after a long day at school? Take a power nap–30 minutes or less. This will provide you with needed energy in a minimal amount of time.

Taking Advantage of Summer Break

The summer before students enter their senior year in high school is a crucial time for them to focus on the college application process. This is an ideal time to start brainstorming ideas for your admissions essays. Each of the three typical applications—the Common Application, the Universal Application, and the Coalition Application—publish essay prompts so students have a guide for drafting their essays. Individual schools also release their specific prompts at the beginning of the year. Find and use these prompts so you can work efficiently on your essay drafts. Once drafted, make sure you find someone who can proofread them for grammar, content, and clarity.

In addition to working on your essays, summer is also a time to focus on these elements to a successful college application process:

  • Prepare a final version of your resume and include a detailed account of your most recent activities from the summer (new clubs or teams).
  • Streamline your college choices. Narrow your list to a few options.
  • Take note of all upcoming deadlines for the colleges or universities on your list.
  • Keep prepping for the SAT or ACT through the summer so you are ready to take the test in the fall.
  • Read more books and be prepared to tell admissions interviewers about them. They will ask what you have been doing over the summer.

More Tips for Effective Planning

Utilizing time management tactics and taking advantage of your summer break should put you on a smooth path forward in your college application process. Here are a few other ways you can make sure everything is in order:

Keep in contact with your school’s college counselor. When you need a recommendation written, be sure to approach your counselor with time to spare—approaching them a week before the recommendation is due will probably lead to a weaker recommendation than you might get if they have more time to write it.

Don’t lose track of the big picture. Don’t let your schedule of day-to-day activities overshadow longer-terms needs such as college visits and testing schedules. Make sure, for example, that you space out your testing dates so you are not handling too much test preparation at any one time.

Include parents. Parents, universities are beginning to offer admissions events focused on your needs, too. Take advantage of events, if they are offered, like the parents-only reception at Catholic University or the mock class for parents at Wake Forest University.

Hire expert help. You and your parents might also consider hiring some expert help in navigating the college admission process. If you go that route, rely on the expertise of a professional college admissions counselor. Find someone who has experience in making admissions decisions, not just a volunteer in the admissions office who performs admissions interviews once a year. Hire someone who has been “in the trenches” of the college admissions process.

Use these tips and you will be able to stay on track with your college applications.

You Need to All Know About the College Interview

You’ve completed your college applications and sent them in. Your high school years are drawing to a close. The next hurdle you need to get past is the college interview. It’s a relatively brief moment in time but one you should be well prepared for. So, we’ve gathered some information to help you prepare for this important event.

Why a College Interview?

College interviews are not always required. In fact, many large universities don’t even offer potential students the option of interviewing. Some smaller ones do, though, and for some, the interview can be one influential factor in the admissions decision.

If you’ve been waiting to hear back after applying to a college and haven’t been offered an interview, it’s a good idea to call and ask for one. Find out if an interview is required, what types of interviews are available, and if the interview plays a role in the admission decision.

Interviews are generally conducted on campus or in your local area with an alum. You might think that meeting with an alum is unnecessary—they may not have a voice in your admission decision. But never turn down an interview if you are offered one, even if it is only with an alum. If you are given the contact information for a representative in your area who can set up an alumni interview, be sure to call or email him or her right away. Don’t expect an immediate response. It is best to give up to five business days for a reply.

Remember, your interview could be one factor in deciding between you and another applicant. Submitting your application early will give you a greater chance of obtaining an interview and getting the opportunity to make a good impression in person.

How to Prepare

If you’ve never had an interview before, this might be uncharted territory for you. So, we’ve compiled some ideas to help you prepare so you can go to your interview with confidence.

There’s no standard checklist that all interviewers use, although an on-campus interview will likely be more structured than an alumni interview. You will probably be asked several questions during your interview. You won’t know the questions ahead of time, so get to know yourself before your interview. What are you passionate about? What do you enjoy doing? What are your goals? Find these things out before going to your interview so you can respond to those questions genuinely and confidently. Many times, interviewers will ask why you want to attend that particular school and what you have to offer the college. What do you bring to the table? What sets you apart from other applicants they may be considering? Why is being admitted to this particular college important to you? 

Be well read! Showing that you’ve read books that were part of your high school English curriculum will not impress your interviewer. Spend some time reading books in different genres. Don’t limit yourself. Know what your favorite books are and why, but don’t be afraid to talk about the ones you don’t like. And don’t forget to include current events in your reading material. If you’re asked your opinion on the latest tax cut, you want to know what you’re talking about.

An interview isn’t just an interrogation. More than likely, you’ll be given the opportunity to ask some questions of your own. Be sure to do your research about the college you will be visiting. Read about the classes and programs offered so you don’t ask about the nonexistent microbiology program. Think about some questions you might want to ask. Personal experience questions are great options. Ask what a previous year’s event was like or what Professor X’s latest research is about. Cater your questions to the unique aspects of the college, and don’t ask questions you can easily find the answers to on the school’s website.

Another good preparation step is to practice your body language and conversation skills. Invite a friend or family member to help you with this in a mock interview. Elicit feedback on your body language so you know what impression your conveying, perhaps unconsciously. Practice being mindful of what your body is doing so you don’t end up picking your nose during the interview. Pay attention to your tone of voice. Monotony won’t impress your interviewer. Also make sure that you’re prepared to greet your interviewer with a firm handshake.

What to Wear

Your appearance makes the first impression, so choose your outfit carefully. According to some, overly casual clothing like sandals, shorts, jeans, and t-shirts should be avoided. Dress modestly—nothing too lowcut or too short. You’re not trying to pick up a hot date; you’re trying to impress someone with your professionalism. If you want your interviewer to pick up on your seriousness about attending this college and succeeding, you need to dress the part.

Men, pick some nice pants—casual is fine as long as they aren’t jeans—and a shirt with a collar. A tie will only help your appearance, and a sports coat may add that extra touch but isn’t always necessary. And be sure your clothing has been freshly laundered or ironed—you don’t want to look as if you just woke up from a nap. Your clothes should be well fitting as well. You don’t want to be tugging at your collar or trying to pull up your pants in the middle of the interview.

Ladies, choose between a skirt or pants—whichever you’re must comfortable in. Remember that knee length or longer is a good guideline for your skirt. Add in a blouse that isn’t too revealing, and throw on a jacket if you want to dress it up a little more. Avoid the flip-flops and tennis shoes; make sure your shoe selection matches the rest of your outfit.

You may need to adjust your wardrobe based on the meeting place. You certainly wouldn’t want to show up in Starbucks with a suit on any more than you would want to wear joggers to the office.

This is the perfect time to dress to impress. If you want to come across as a serious, dedicated student, your appearance needs to convey that.

Miscellaneous Dos and Don’ts

Remember that your interviewer may know very little about you before your interview—especially if you are interviewing with an alum. Do be sure to highlight your interests and your achievements. And remember, this is just highlighting—you won’t have time to cover everything, but don’t be afraid to go in depth about the things that are important to you and that you are passionate about.

Do arrive early for your appointment. The last thing you want to do is indicate to your interviewer that you are not taking this seriously by showing up a few minutes late. Plan for traffic and whatever other obstacles may come up so that you can arrive 10-15 minutes early. If you aren’t familiar with the area, give yourself ample time to find the location. Arriving early will give you time to relax before you’re called in and will convey responsibility.

Don’t fidget. Be aware of what your hands are doing at all times. Don’t pick at your clothes, stuff your hands in your pockets, or play with your zipper.

Do sit in the chair provided to you. Believe it or not, not everybody does this. The floor is not your seat, and neither is your interviewer’s desk.

Do watch your language. You may swear with your friends and coworkers, but this interview is not the time nor the place. Keep your language clean, professional, and non-offensive.

Don’t chew gum during your interview—or your fingers or tongue. You can’t speak clearly when you’re chewing.

Do turn your cell phone off or on silent before going in to your interview. In fact, do this before entering the office. Be aware that you may be observed from the moment you step into view, and the office receptionist may have been asked to take notes about your waiting room behavior. So, stay off your cell phone both while waiting and in the office.

Do maintain eye contact. You certainly don’t want to stare your interviewer down, but maintaining regular eye contact when responding to or asking questions will convey sincerity and honesty to your interviewer. Shifty eyes cause suspicion.

Don’t use fillers when you’re talking. This is a good technique to practice beforehand. “You know” and “like” are expressions that you don’t need to use. You have important things to say and a limited time in which to say them, so get to it! Don’t fill empty space with meaningless words. And avoid phrases like “honestly” or “to be honest” at the start of your sentence. The last thing you want to do is convey that you are normally a dishonest person who is making an exception for this interview.

Do be yourself. Relax. You’ve got this. Remember that this isn’t an audition for a TV show, so there’s no need to act. Be down to earth and honest. Relaxed does not mean casual though, so don’t go tipping your chair back and putting your feet on the desk in front of you—or anywhere else except the floor.

Do arrive clean and well groomed. Don’t look like you’ve been forgetting to shave or had a bad hair day. Make sure you’ve showered—you don’t want your aroma to be your lasting impression.

After the Interview

Don’t forget to follow up! You’ve heard the proverb “out of sight, out of mind,” haven’t you? Don’t let that be you. After you’ve returned home from your interview, write a thank-you note and mail it to your interviewer. That simple note will set you apart from other applicants and remind the interviewer of who you are so you don’t simply become a name on paper.

Finding the Best College for You

Choosing among the thousands of U.S. colleges available to students today is no small feat, and without a plan it can leave your head spinning. On the other hand, having a road map to follow can make this difficult decision much easier. These guidelines can help you navigate the college application and acceptance process and arrive at a sound decision about which school can best help you to achieve your dreams.

Step 1 – What Do I Want/Need?

The differences between colleges are as varied as the differences between people. In order to determine which college is the best fit for you, you must know your goals and interests. This is not as simple as knowing where you can earn the degree you need—it’s choosing the place you will live for the next four years or more, the culture that will shape your identity and the people who can most effectively help you to develop and succeed both personally and professionally. Some important factors to consider are your academic and extracurricular ambitions, financial and living arrangements and the type of school you’d like to be a part of.

Academic Goals

What do you love to do? Have you chosen a major? Are you interested in a liberal arts school, a business school, or something more technical?

Consider the type of student you are. What level of structure do you need to achieve your goals? Can you flourish at a school that requires more self-motivation, or do you need more strict requirements? Do you prefer to work independently or with a team? Are you a hands-on learner or do you prefer to listen to a lecture? Some schools have done away with grades. Are grades a motivating factor for you?

Are there subjects you want to avoid, or subjects unrelated to your major that you feel your college experience would be incomplete without?

Calendars vary between schools. Do you need the longer summer break that comes with a semester calendar, or is it more important to you to gain exposure to the wider variety of courses available with a quarterly or trimester calendar?

Extracurricular Interests

When you’re not in class, what level of involvement will you have with the school? Are you hoping to be part of an athletic team, a performance group or a community service project? Would you like to join a fraternity or sorority? What social clubs would you want to participate in?

What do you like to do in your free time? What kinds of places do you like to go to relax and have fun? Different cities or areas of the country have different cultural settings. Would you prefer an urban, rural, suburban or small-town setting? Larger cities are great for concerts, museums, sporting events and clubs, as well as more frequent opportunities for social interaction. Suburban and rural towns are more likely to have access to wildlife/nature and opportunities for solitude. Are you likely to suffer from culture shock if you choose to live in a setting that vastly differs from what you’re used to?

The different regions of the U.S. display a variety of climates. These climates will determine the types of activities available to you when you’re not in class. Is there a climate you’d prefer, or one that you can’t deal with?

Living Arrangements

Do you plan to live on or off campus? Do coed dorms bother you or excite you?

Do you own a car? If not, you’ll need to make sure the college you choose is in a city that provides public transportation or an area that can be easily traversed without a vehicle.

Living away from family can be exhilarating, since being on your own allows for greater freedom. It can also be scary or lonely because the people you’re used to relying on will not be readily available if you need help. Would you prefer to be near or far from home, and how often do you plan to visit?

Financial Considerations

Public colleges are typically much less expensive than private schools, but the graduates of private colleges frequently earn more. It’s important to consider this trade-off when choosing your school and your career path. Attending a more prestigious school may or may not result in greater career or financial success, depending on what you’re planning to study.

Will you need to get a job? Choosing a college with on-campus jobs or a location with plenty of available off-campus jobs will be necessary.

If you choose to live far from home, how will you travel to visit? Flying is significantly more expensive than other modes of transportation, but it’s also much faster.

Campus Culture

Some colleges have tens of thousands of students, while others may not be much larger than a high school, and their class sizes can range from the hundreds to only a handful of students. Do you prefer to blend in with the crowd or to stand out?

What level of political activism are you comfortable with? Some schools are more vocal than others when it comes to social and political issues. Is there a specific issue you’d like to be active in promoting? Do you prefer a liberal- or conservative-leaning campus culture?

How important is belonging to you? Do you love to cheer with the home crowd at football games and be a part of campus social clubs, traditions and history, or are you content to get your degree, begin forming a career network and make some friends? Do you need to feel surrounded by people who are similar to you and understand you racially, socioeconomically, religiously, or in other ways, or would you rather be challenged by people whose backgrounds are different from yours?

Would alcohol or drug use on campus make you uncomfortable?

Step 2 – Research

Once you’ve considered your needs and interests, you can begin to zero in on the schools that have what you want. In the internet age, anything you need to know about a college is just a click away. Besides official school websites, there are myriad resources to help you easily compare schools, such as CollegeNavigator, Unigo, Cappex and CollegeBoard. These tools allow you to research and sort schools based on the criteria of your choice, including major, school size, demographics and test scores.

It’s likely that there will be a number of schools that adequately fit your needs and interests. As your list becomes shorter and shorter, remember to take time to deeply consider the factors that matter to you, while being honest with yourself about what you find. Some truly excellent colleges just aren’t a good fit for your needs, and these should not make the cut. It’s not worth it to sacrifice personal and professional happiness or success in exchange for bragging rights or an unrealistic vision of your college experience. Ideally, you should be able to taper your list to about ten schools: a few dream schools, a few realistic target schools and a couple of safety-net schools.

When it comes to getting a feel for the culture of a college, there is simply no substitute for a campus visit. You may be able to take a peek at the campus online through a virtual tour or photos on the school’s website, but to really experience the atmosphere, you need to survey it in person. Eat in the dining hall, talk to students and faculty, visit a classroom and check out the dorms. A campus visit will also give you a chance to explore the school’s surroundings and gain a better understanding of the area’s culture.

When you’ve made the cuts that narrow the field from thousands to just ten or so top schools, it’s time to apply. The application process can be expected to further shrink your list, as you may not get a positive response to every application you submit, but hang in there—you’re not quite done yet.

Step 3 – Once You’ve Been Accepted

With acceptance letters in hand, there is still much to consider. Many students feel an urge to decide as soon as possible after receiving an offer of admission, but this can be a serious mistake. There are typically three to four weeks allowed in which to make your decision, and this is the time to dig deeper and take an even closer look at what each school has to offer. You may want to reexamine some of the factors you explored in step 1. Perhaps there are some choices that are no-brainers, and these can help you eliminate some options. For the harder choices, the following questions can be useful.


Which schools present knowledge in ways that are best suited to your learning style?

Is the material presented by an assistant or adjunct instructor, or a full-time professor? How available are the professors when students have questions or concerns, and are they sufficiently qualified?

Did the classes you attended during your first campus visit hold your attention? Is examination of the subject matter multifaceted, or is it based on rote learning? Are critical thinking and opposing perspectives welcome, or does discussion take place in an echo chamber?

Will you be able to begin forming a career network there? Does the area around the school provide opportunities for internships or other learning experiences in your field?

While it’s true that the practical and cultural aspects of college are important and should be weighed in your decision, the education you’ll get is obviously your primary reason for attending and should tip the scale.

Financial Factors

Which schools are offering better financial aid packages? Scholarship offers and the ratio of grants to loans can influence your decision or even mean the difference between the possible and the impossible. You’ll need to consider how much debt each option will saddle you with after graduation and whether it will be worthwhile.

Which schools allow for living arrangements that you can afford? Some may provide everything you need on campus, and others may enable you to live off campus at a lower cost. Some cities or campuses may make it possible for you to get by without a vehicle, but others may make it necessary to have one.

Campus Life

A second campus visit can go a long way toward turning your head one direction or another. This visit is a great time to address anything you may have missed the first time and to go beyond the school’s presentation of itself on the tour—when they know prospective students are on campus. Aim to discover the un-staged. Visit a dorm without a tour guide, find out where the best coffeehouse or restaurant near campus is and head back to campus on a weekend night to see where students are and what they’re up to. Do you feel safe there? Talk to students and faculty. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions or the “stupid” questions. Remember that you’re not just considering where to get an education, but where, and with whom, to spend the next four years of your life. Can you see yourself living there? Can you become a well-rounded individual there?

Though friends, family, and others will express opinions about where you should attend college (and their opinions should be taken into account), the decision is ultimately yours. The essential question is not whether a school is good, but whether it’s a good fit for you. Only you can decide which college is the best fit for your goals and interests, your personality, and your financial situation, and whether it’s the place in which you are most able to grow and thrive.

How Duke Created the Class of 2019

DURHAM, NC – There are many traits needed to be a successful admissions officer at Duke, all with unique dualities of their own.

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