5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Niche Direct Admissions College
In case you haven’t heard yet, Niche has an amazing new opportunity for high school seniors. Niche Direct Admissions is a program that allows participating colleges to accept students and offer scholarships based on their Niche Profile. That’s right — no application needed.
If this is news to you, sign up today and fill out your Niche Profile so you can start receiving acceptances! You can learn more about Niche Direct Admissions here, and any acceptances you receive or are qualified for will appear on your Niche dashboard.
Exciting, right? Let’s say you have an acceptance, but you don’t know whether or not you want to attend the institution. Or maybe you have several, but you’re not sure which school is the best fit. In this post, we’ll break down five things you should consider when choosing a Direct Admissions college.
Before you start diving into the acceptance details, visit your Niche Profile and make sure all of your details (notably, your GPA) are correct. Because Direct Admissions colleges base their acceptances and scholarships on your profile, it’s really important that everything matches up or their offer may be adjusted.
Now, let’s review those five key things to consider!
The financial component is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding where to go to college. Like every other institution, a Direct Admissions college will have a sticker price. The sticker price (or “full” price) represents the amount of money it would cost to attend the school without financial aid, including tuition, room & board, books and more. However, most students will not end up paying the entire sticker price thanks to grants, scholarships and other forms of financial aid.
With a Direct Admissions acceptance, you have a few things to evaluate. First, you should take a look at the school’s price. On every college’s Niche Profile, there’s a section titled “Cost” with financial information that the college reports to the U.S. Department of Education. Click “Explore Tuition & Cost Breakdown” for more details, including the full “sticker” price as well as the “net price,” or average amount students pay after financial aid is accounted for.
Take note of all these figures, then look at the scholarship the Direct Admissions college has offered you. Compare it to the net price, do the math and ask yourself (and your parents if applicable) whether or not you could reasonably afford to attend this school. Keep in mind that Niche Direct Admissions scholarships do not replace financial aid — many schools may still offer additional aid based on your personal situation and your FAFSA. So to get a true sense of how much it will cost to attend a certain college, you may need to complete the “Next Steps” in order to receive a formal financial aid award package.
2. Major and career fit
If you already have an idea of what you want to study or what kind of career you want to pursue after graduation, you’ll want to find a school that offers the program(s) you’d need. For example, if you already know you want to study architecture, you wouldn’t choose a college or university that doesn’t have an architecture program. If you’re unsure of what you want to study or you want to do further research, check out our guide to college majors.
When you’re looking at a Direct Admissions college’s Niche Profile, find their website to see a full list of undergraduate programs they offer. Think about your future goals and plans, then ask yourself whether or not the school will provide opportunities to fulfill them.
When evaluating a Direct Admissions college’s physical campus, ask yourself what you want most. Are you more drawn to small schools or big ones? Urban campuses that are integrated into the surrounding city or suburban/rural campuses with more of that traditional quad feel? Do you need a state-of-the-art fitness center or several libraries to choose from?
Life at a small rural school will be pretty different from life at a college that’s in the middle of a large city. There will be different opportunities for nightlife, different events for students to participate in. No one option is better than the other — it’s all about what kind of life you envision for yourself during your college years. Read all about the campus on the college’s Niche Profile and look for campus tours on the college’s website, Niche’s social media accounts or YouTube. Then, if you’re able to, visit the campus in person! When you go through those “Next Steps” with the Direct Admissions college, you’ll find information about scheduling a tour.
Just as important as the campus is the location of that campus. To start, reflect on your own priorities. Would you prefer to stay close to home, or are you yearning to go somewhere far away? And further, think about the logistics of that decision. Do you have a car for going back and forth between school and home, or will you need to make other arrangements? Will you be able to afford plane tickets home, or will you need to stay at your college for some breaks? These are key decisions that are deeply personal, so take some time to figure out what works best for you.
You should also look at the town or city the college is in. Do you like the surrounding area? How will you like the weather, the nightlife options, the things to do? You’ll be spending a lot of time wherever you choose, so find as much information as you can on the local area. Our town profiles have tons of stats and reviews from real residents, so navigate to our “Places to Live” section and look up the town the Direct Admissions college is in to get a sense of what it would be like to live there.
5. The student experience
While campus and location are very important, there’s more to a college than its physical parts. Ask yourself questions about what you want in your community. Do you want to be surrounded by students who are into social activism? Do you want to choose a college that focuses on religion? Are you more into sports culture, arts — or both? Remember, you’re choosing your home for the next four or so years. The community of students and faculty is the heart of any college, so look into it carefully to find somewhere you’ll truly belong.
There are several ways you can research a Direct Admissions college’s community on its Niche profile:
- Read reviews from actual students and alumni
- Look at the Niche grades for Student Life, Professors and Diversity for a quick pulse check
- Check out hte poll questions scattered throughout the profile.
You can also try to connect with current students and/or explore the college’s social media accounts to see if the community would be a good fit for you.
Going to college is a huge deal, and it’s important to think through your options carefully. Niche is all about making sure you have free, transparent information, so research the Direct Admissions college that has accepted you and take the time to figure out if it’s right for you. With these five things in mind plus our various tools and thorough college profiles, you’ll be able to make an informed — and confident — decision about your education.
Keep in mind, your Niche dashboard will automatically update with new acceptances, matches and scholarships, so make sure to check it throughout the year!
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