Selecting a college is the most important decision that you are ever going to make. The ramifications of this choice will be felt for years to come, so it is crucial to follow the proper steps and make the correct selection. Here's a helpful list of detailed instructions to aid you in this process.

1. Don't Procrastinate

Waiting until the end of senior year to get serious about this choice is quite unwise. A student should begin investigating their college choices during their sophomore or junior year. Having this decision hanging over your head during one of the most important academic years of your life provides an unnecessary distraction.

2. Make A Pros and Cons List

Go through your short list of schools and write down the pros and cons for each one. Be sure to only worry about the important factors, such as academics and school size. Do not spend time wondering which school your high school friends will be attending or which college has the most vibrant social scene.

3. Multiple College Visits

If you are truly considering a school and you have already been on one visit, don't be afraid to head back for a second. On your second trip, bring a list of important questions with you. When it comes to a decision this important, nothing should ever be left to chance.

4. Research Specific Departments

Having an endgame in mind is crucial. Knowing exactly what you want to get out of your college experience is a key factor in choosing the right one. So is having a solid plan for what you would like to major in. Be sure to spend time speaking with the department representatives of your major. This gives you a chance to gauge the school's ability to meet your educational needs.

5. Aid Packages

Unless you are fortunate enough to hail from a family who can afford to pay for school outright, looking over each school's aid package can help you make an informed decision. There is a huge difference between grants (which are free money) and loans (which are not).

6. Consult With Your Parents

Your parents are one of the most useful resources that you will have at your disposal. They have the experience to know what the right choice is for you and they know you just as well as you know yourself. Use them as a sounding board for your decision making.

7. Rejected? Move On!

Getting a rejection letter from one of the schools on your short list is a feeling that no one should ever have to experience. However, it should not be treated like a death sentence. If you're rejected, do not dwell on it for long. Regardless of what's happened, you still have an important decision to make.