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Overwhelmed with choices-helping dd decide


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Okay, here is the story. My dd has applied or is about to apply to 11 colleges. She has so far been accepted to 5, has a likely letter to another one, and probably will be accepted to most of the others. So we have until May 1st to decide but really some of the colleges need housing deposits sooner. I am mildly ADHD and dd is severely ADHD. It was so much easier with number one. He was accepted to five regularly, and one more with a proviso. It was easy to immediately whittle it down to two since the others either wanted much more money or something else (the proviso one). The last choice took some time for him. NOw here comes dd. She is naturally scatterbrained but a very hard worker. Part of the issue is that since she is such a dedicated worker, she has even less time to think about things.

I think we can immediately discard one college which she doesn't even remember why she applied to it (I think it had to do with a highly ranked mock trial program which turns out is only open to Law school students) and upon perusing their website, I have a difficult time navigating it. We start visiting next week with a college here in VA that I don't think will be a fit. Hopefully, that will be another easy discard. Then come three to visit in January, one of which is a revisit to a summer visit without students. Hopefully, then she can tell me no really big schools or some other factor which would weed out more. See finances probably don't come into the factor. So the only things we are looking at is academic programs, fit of school, and how certain can we be that she can graduate in four years (the length of her benefits). The only time finances will be an issue is if someone offers full ride since then we can save the GI bIll for her law school and/or her sister's college. We have even more visits in February and March and then we are done. Hopefully. Any one else have or had this problem?

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I think it can be a really tough decision even if it's just a few schools. Ds applied to very few schools, and after his acceptances, got it down to 3, and then 2. But deciding between the two was really tough, esp because the financial picture was SO different between the two. We didn't want ds to be overly influenced by the costs, but it was hard for him to see past this, plus each school had it's positives and negatives.


What we did to help ds decide was to use an Excel spreadsheet to try and quantify things--taking cost out of the picture. We listed on the rows the various personal factors that we and ds considered most relevant--things that had stood out to us during our research and school visits, and especially things that were different depending on the school. These were things like the strength of his academic program, the specialization that he wanted, breadth of academic opportunities, advising, size of campus, distance from home (specifically--time to get there in case of emergency), safety on campus, friendliness of staff, honors program, etc. Then we assigned a weighting factor for each item that reflected how important we thought it was--and made all the weighting factors add up to 100. Then we rated each school (in the columns) from 1-10 on each of the factors, and multiplied each rating by the weighting factor to get a score. We then added up all the scores for each school to see which scored highest overall.


In our case the final numbers themselves didn't help that much--one school came out with a score of 508 and the other with a score of 492--but going through the process really helped ds think through things and decide what was important. And although the final numbers weren't telling, what we discovered was that while school B won out in a few more areas, school A really won out in the areas of greatest importance. Ds ultimately decided on school A and has been extremely happy--it has the better program and is truly the best fit for him.


Anyway, maybe something like this or some kind of rating of the 11 schools might help you sift through your choices, especially once you've visited them. HTH!

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