For those of you who have received your acceptance packets this week congrats! But now you have to make a really, really hard decision. And the worst part is, there's no real way of knowing you made the right choice until sometime next fall. So how do you know which school is right for you? Obviously we all think RIT is the right choice for you but ultimately it's your decision to make. So good luck with that. I was always the first person to arrive home and get the mail after school each day my senior year. And each time one of my six packets arrived I freaked out. Whether it was running next door to my neighbor to make him open it or calling my mom in near hysterics until she convinced me to open it I couldn't do it alone. And neither should you.
Here are a few suggestions from my personal experience hunting for colleges that I thought might give you a little insight into how to make your decision.
First of all while your friends and family are the best forms of support they can't make this decision for you. What I mean by this is that even though you and your best friend are so close people mistake you as siblings the chances of the same college being right for both of you isn't as high as you might think. Especially if you want to be an electrical engineer and they want to be a lawyer. Likewise, as much as your parents want you to stay close (or in some cases go far, far away) don't let it influence you. Ultimately, the right school for you could be in Oregon or even right down the road from home.
As much as rejection sucks, it's not the ultimate end of the world. There are thousands of colleges in the States alone and even more overseas. And if you end up at your back-up school or even if you decide your number 1 college isn't right for you tranferring is always an option. One of the great things about RIT is that we have 8 different colleges here on campus. I came here as a photo major and quickly realized it wasn't for me. Luckily, by filling out one paper I transferred to the College of Business and I've been happy ever since. Additionally, because I switched so early on, most of my credits transferred and I still get to graduate on time.
Another thing I've found is that visiting your colleges is the best way to try and figure out which one to choose. I applied to six colleges. Ithaca, RIT, Point Park in Pittsburgh, Columbia and Loyola in Chicago, and Castleton in Vermont. I had Columbia and Castleton as back-up schools and RIT and Ithaca at the top of my list. I visited both RIT and Ithaca before I received my acceptance packets and again once I got accepted. And while I highly reccommend campus and dorm tours I think it's really important to do the next following things as well if you can:
Sit in on a class- Call your department and set up a time to sit in on one of the classes. The departments are usually very accomodating with this and seeing first hand what kind of classes you'll be taking is very telling as to whether or not the school is going to work for you.
Spend the night- While I didn't know anyone that went to RIT or Ithaca, I had a friend who did. So she came on the roadtrip with my mom and I. My mom dropped us off on campus each day and picked us up at the end of the night. At Ithaca we sat in on a class, went on a campus tour, went on a personal tour of the photography department, and attended one of the last concerts of Something Corporate (HUGE HIGHLIGHT). At RIT we went on a tour of the photography department, sat in on a photo class, had lunch and dinner with a bunch of kids from our friend's dorm, and played frisbee out in the quad. The ability to experience life of a student through the students eyes was invaluable and ultimately how I chose to attend RIT. I thought the campus (or the students specifically) were the most welcoming and friendly. Not only that but we got to see first hand the opportunities for entertainment on each campus (even though RIT didn't have Something Corporate playing their that weekend, we did see a movie in Ingle and I made sure to ask about previous concerts on campus) and what it would be like to attend either school.
In the end I chose RIT and in the 4 years I have spent here, I haven't regretted a single minute of it. RIT may have it's downfalls (it just started snowing AGAIN) but I'm not perfect either and somehow RIT and I make quite the match. The school you choose may not be RIT but if you're looking for a school with excellent academics, an incredible co-op program, a ton of entertainment, and really great people it could be the school for you too.