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Making Decisions about College

Making Decisions about College

Congratulations! You reached the critical point of deciding what college to attend. That means you have already explored, prepared and applied to colleges. Now you get to decide! Walk through the following questions, answer honestly, use the tools and links, and let us know what you decide. Use #DecisionDayVA and tag us @SCHEVnews.

Toolkit for Students and Families:

Map of Virginia Colleges & Universities1-2-3 Go Toolkit
Factors to Consider: Choosing the Right College, page 6
Make Your Decision: Compare Award Offers, page 26
Senior Year Checklist, page 42

More details are below.

Download these resources and/or refer to your hard copy of the 2020-21 Virginia Opportunities guide and workbook (English/Spanish). Guides are available through most school counseling offices and can be ordered by school staff in bulk at

Where do I want to Go?

Map of Virginia Colleges & Universities - Explore your higher education options in Virginia. See where your schools of interest are located. See how close or far they are from home. Click on each link to visit their website. Some campuses even offer virtual tours.
Refer to pages 34-37 in your 2020-21 Virginia Opportunities guide.

What else should I consider?

Finding the Right College (English)  (Spanish) – Make sure the school you choose is the right fit for your career goals, personality, academic preparation and ability to pay. There are many different types of colleges and universities, each with its own distinct advantages and drawbacks for individual students. A good fit for one student might not work well for another. Factors to consider include:

  • Program(s) of study
  • School size
  • Class size
  • Support services/programs
  • City/neighborhood environment
  • Campus culture
  • Distance from home
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Religious affiliation
  • Net price (see page 25)
  • Financial aid options
  • Outside learning options
  • Housing options

Refer to pages 4-5 in your 2020-21 Virginia Opportunities guide

How much will it cost me?

Make Your Decision: Compare Award Offers (English)  (Spanish) – If you completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and indicated your colleges of interest, they should have received your financial information. Colleges use this information to determine your financial need and award package. Award packages may vary by college, so be sure to review your award letters carefully to help make the best decision. Contact the college financial aid office if you have questions about your award package. Use the Decision worksheet to compare awards from colleges.
Refer to pages 24-26 in your 2020-21 Virginia Opportunities guide.

What more do I need to do?

Senior Year Checklist (English) (Spanish) - You have done a lot to reach this point, but the journey is not over. At this point in the process, the top task on your list is to remain in contact with your selected school. Be sure to sign into your college portal to read emails and texts regularly so you won’t miss a deadline or opportunity. If you are unsure about anything, call or email the contact provided in your portal, acceptance letter or other correspondence.
Refer to pages 42-43 in your 2020-21 Virginia Opportunities guide.

Other Resources

National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Aid Offer Comparison Worksheet – NASFAA's Aid Offer Comparison Worksheet is a useful tool that students and families can use to decipher different award letters and compare them on a level playing field. The worksheet gives students tips to follow when comparing aid offers — explaining the difference between gift aid and self-help aid, checking for eligibility requirements to maintain grants and scholarships, and calculating out-of-pocket costs for school.

The 2020-21 Virginia Opportunities guide – referenced above and produced by ECMC, now also provides a text reminder service for the months following high school graduation. The texts remind students about deadlines and information that will help them show up ready for college success at the end of the summer. Complete the short inquiry form to get started. Doing so also creates a profile for Kaleidoscope, a free scholarship search tool.

Is the Price Right – SCHEV provides a list of Virginia public institution tuition and options to make the cost more affordable.

Virginia helps students Prepare for College.

Virginia helps students Explore Opportunities.

Virginia helps students learn how to Pay for College.

Virginia helps understand student loan responsibilities.

Decision Day VA - Celebrate college decisions as part of 1-2-3 Go! -- Virginia’s Three Steps to Go to College initiative.

FastWeb Articles (FastWeb is a trusted online college scholarship tool):

Please click each step on the menu below to access resource toolkits and to learn about how to Go! to college.
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Visit the 1-2-3 Go! Virginia's Three Steps to College webpage for more information and suggestions on preparing students and celebrating student decisions on where they will Go! after high school. 

SCHEV values honesty, quality, diversity, inclusion, growth-orientation, personal well-being, equity, transparency and accountability.
Through these values, we create a welcoming work environment that represents the best of who we are as an agency and as individuals.

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