From crafting the perfect personal essay to scrambling for those last-minute teacher recommendations, the college application process is stressful. But once those acceptance letters have finally arrived after weeks of anticipation, students are still left to complete one very nerve-wreaking (and important) component: deciding where to go to college.
Luis Ruuska, a high school senior and blogger for The Huffington Post, is supposed to make this final decision this week. Like many other students, he has to weigh the financial aid packages he received from different colleges.
"One of the colleges is offering to meet my full financial need, but with a lot of loans," Ruuska said in a HuffPost Live segment on Tuesday. "So one of the things that I have to really consider is whether or not I want to take out those loans and go to a college that might have a bit of a better program."
HuffPost Live explored the different ways to navigate the process of making this decision in a discussion with Alexis Jane Torre (a freshman at the University of Arizona and HuffPost blogger), Jordan Goldman (CEO and founder of Unigo.com), Kat Cohen (CEO and founder of IvyWise college counseling) and Bruce Sallan (author of A Dad's Point of View).
Torre also mentioned the importance of financial aid that played in her decision-making process, and how sometimes those results can be just as painful as receiving bad news about your general admission.
“I got into the schools I wanted, but I got rejected from some scholarships," Torre said. “Getting rejected no matter what -- whether it’s a school or scholarship -- is painful because you get attached to this idea of what kind of future you can have.”
While it's critical for students to flesh out the details of their financial aid packages, it's also important to consider whether it's worth remaining on a school's wait list. For those hoping to get bumped from the list, this may mean attempting to separate yourself from the competition. Sallan's son, a student at the Berklee College of Music, submitted a unique supplement with his application, which Sallan believes made him especially memorable.
“He talked his way on stage and jammed with Chris Cornell at The Roxy when he was 15-years-old and that YouTube video had thousands of hits,” Sallan explained. “It shows initiative and creativity that you can’t quantify. You need to stand out.”
Tell us: How are you planning on making your college decision? What's the best way to deal with admissions-related stress? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet @HuffPostTeen.
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