You spent months preparing compelling applications and hoping they would make a positive impact on the admissions officers at your target schools. Now the results of your efforts are streaming in. The good news is, your applications were effective and you’ve received numerous offers of admission. The bad news is, you have a tough decision ahead of you. How do you choose?

Clients of North Star Admissions are currently grappling with this very question, as they entertain offers from such schools as Dartmouth, Yale, Duke, Georgetown, Cornell, Michigan, UT Austin, Northwestern, Emory, Boston College, Babson, the University of Virginia, the University of Chicago, and many more. If you’re evaluating offers of admission from several of your top choices, I recommend considering the following factors:

1. Fit. You probably considered “fit” when conducting your school search, and targeted schools that matched your goals and interests. Now it’s time to assess which school represents the best fit for you both academically and socially. One of the most powerful benefits of attending college or graduate school is the opportunity to meet people who share your interests, so it’s important to select a school where you will thrive on a personal level. I highly recommend attending admitted student events where you can meet your potential classmates and see if you connect.

2. Return on Investment. Now is the time to determine your prospects after graduation by ascertaining the track record of graduates from the schools you’re considering. Ask the schools for a snapshot. If you’re considering undergraduate programs, ask what percentage of graduates pursue advanced degrees and what percentage attain employment within six months. Business schools will break down this information by employer, industry and average salary.

3. Finances. Many North Star clients are choosing among schools that offered them substantial scholarships and those that offered more limited financial support. The decision is easier when your first choice school also gives you a full scholarship. If not, you have to determine whether the experience and opportunities you expect to have at your first choice school are worth the post-graduate debt you will incur. This is a very personal calculation. But your first step should be to speak with the financial aid office. They can provide you with a detailed package that shows what your financial obligations will be while you’re attending and after graduation. When you have all of the facts and figures, you can gauge your comfort level with either decision.

Aside from these factors, many students also consider rankings in the school selection process. But are rankings worth considering? Stay tuned for my next blog post on this issue.

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Karen Marks

Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Clients have been awarded more than $70 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 98% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.
North Star Admissions Consulting