You’ve finally heard back from all of your colleges and now you’ve gotten your financial aid award letters.

What should you do next to help you make the final college decision?

In general, you’ll need to look at each school’s offer carefully to find the one that most closely matches your academic interests, campus life preferences and financial situation. But, of course, there’s more to it than just going with your gut.

The following steps can help you narrow down the options.

Compare financial aid packages

Affordability plays a role since some schools could cost you thousands of dollars more per year to attend. Take a close look at how much financial aid each school is offering and how much you will need to pay. Keep in mind that some financial aid might be renewable past freshman year, such as a four-year institutional scholarship, while other gift aid could be a one-time award. As you compare the numbers, you want to be comfortable with the financial obligation of the school you choose.

Consider negotiating for more aid

If money is the only factor keeping you from saying yes to your top choice, try reaching out to the financial aid office. Sometimes, letting them know that you really want to attend but are having some financial concerns can result in additional aid. There are options to appeal your award if your financial circumstances have changed due to a recent medical hardship, a job loss or a death in the family. Even a small increase in aid can help put you in a better position.

Look for other sources of funding

If you’re wondering when to start looking for scholarships, the answer is now. While many deadlines have passed by college decision day, some outside scholarships are open to freshman applicants. You can also call the financial aid offices at the schools you’re considering and ask if there are any scholarship opportunities still available. No matter which college you choose, any extra financial help you can get is worth the effort — especially if you don’t have to pay it back.

Think ahead

While it’s challenging enough to choose a college, it’s important to think about your plans after graduation since they could — and should — factor into your decision. What type of career are you seeking? Does your list of schools include a renowned program in that field? Are you planning to go to graduate school? What is the salary potential in your intended field of study? How you answer these questions will help you assess which school might give you the best return on your investment.

Revisit the campuses for another look

Which campus makes you feel most at home? Having another look can refresh your memory and remind you what feels right. Finding your “fit” is just as important as academics and finances, especially if you plan to dorm.

Choosing a college is a major life decision. Take your time and go through each of these steps. Your future self will thank you for it.