HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — It’s the final countdown for students to decide where they’ll be going to school for the next four years of their lives: College Decision Day is right around the corner.
Decision Day is when most schools have their deadline for students to commit to attending, which is usually May 1.
Steinbrenner High School senior Sophia Hallenbeck knows the stress of picking a school. She ultimately decided on USF.
“When I think of college, I think of that’s the place I’m going to go to get my degree and what’s going to set me up best for the career I want to pursue,” Hallenbeck said. “USF was just the best option for that.”
While many students may have already decided where they’ll spend the next four years, some students may still be taking a hard look at their options.
“They need to feel a part of the campus. They need to want to be there in order to be successful there,” Steinbrenner High School school counselor Meredith Wright said. “Proximity to things that are important to them too, so if they want to be able to get home often, that’s something to consider.”
Wright advises students look at virtual campus tours and check out different forums to ask questions. If you’re looking between private and public universities, she said there are different scholarships that can be used to help make that decision.
ABC Action News asked if rising inflation and other expenses could play into a family’s decision as well.
“If families have less income to spend towards college, it’s definitely going to be a factor,” Wright said. “The room and board cost is the largest part of tuition, so if there’s a university within driving distance of someone’s home and all they’d have to pay is their tuition and other campus costs, that could be a huge factor.”
Wright explained there are still scholarships out there.
“My advice to our students is usually apply for everything you even remotely qualify for. Spend the time a couple hours a week, every week,” Wright said. “Apply for all the scholarships that you can possibly. You can never have too much money for college.”
Sophia's mom Daffodil Hallenbeck also weighed in on what families should know, from one parent to another.
“You want to make sure it is the right fit for your child. You want to make sure the size of the university if they’re better off in a smaller classroom size or if they would thrive in a bigger university,” she said. “Just making sure they find the right fit for what they want to do.”
At the end of the day, Sophia said students should decide what’s best for you.
“Make a pros and cons list, but just don’t overthink it,” Sophia said.