Decision Time: hard choices and free knickknacks

Isabel Rodriguez-Vega is a senior at Skyline High School in Oakland.

College acceptance and decision time is much more exciting than the application process. Suddenly the tables have turned, and the colleges that you desperately tried to win over are now hoping you will choose them over the others. They start sending an endless amount of letters telling you how great they are and sometimes attempt to woo you with gifts. I’ve actually received a T-shirt and luggage tag from two schools.

But when it really comes down to decision time all this stuff is useless in helping to make your decision. Many aspects of the school must be taken into account and today financial aid has become an increasingly important decision factor.

Money was of course one of the deciding factors for myself, but not to a huge extent because my first choice schools were the ones who offered me the best financial aid packages. Contrary to what most would expect, it will be cheaper for me to attend a private university than a state school, which made my decision process much easier.

Things got difficult when I had to choose between two great schools, both of which I would love to attend but both very different. In the end I chose Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, but now that I’ve made the decision I can’t help having some doubts about whether or not I made the right choice. Either way I will be far away from home and out of my comfort zone, which is a scary and exciting thought.


  • http://www.examiner.com/x-356-SF-Education-Examiner Caroline

    Good luck! I’m the mom of a Class of 2009 graduate from San Francisco School of the Arts, and I’m so relieved that he made his choice (Oberlin Conservatory) with a couple of days to spare. Some of his classmates are still deciding, and these are huge life decisions — one of them is deciding between Santa Cruz and Montreal.

  • Diane

    Isabel, Your experience that private colleges and universities are less expensive that California state colleges and universities is common for many middle to upper middle class families especially with 2 in college. Another factor to add in is that most private colleges and universities want to see you graduate in 4 years and it now takes about 5 years to graduate from california state schools because of the number of students and difficulty in getting necessary classes. Athletes may be the exception. So factor 5 years of state tuition, room and board compared to private institutions which are typically much smaller and generally more geographically diverse and it is no wonder many are coming to your realization. Good Luck at Northwestern.