Identify Critical Factors
Your first step is to determine what criteria are important to you in evaluating graduate programs. Your job is to identify the program components and other factors that you need to be successful in graduate school. Then apply these criteria to make distinctions among graduate programs.
Make Decisions as You are Notified of Acceptances
Should you wait until you are aware of all of your options? Some applicants put off making choices until they hear from all the graduate programs to which they've applied. Although this may seem like a safe option, it is not the best choice. Ultimately you will consider offers of graduate admission in pairs, comparing one program with another. Apply this procedure as soon as you receive a second acceptance letter.
Remember the Wait List
Many applicants receive word that they are on wait lists for entry to graduate programs. They wait until slots become available, that is, until you decline the graduate program slot you've been offered. The longer you hold on to an graduate program slot that you don't plan to accept, the longer the next applicant who will be offered that spot must wait. Have consideration for other applicants.
To Choose, Make Simple Comparisons
If you have two offers in hand, compare them and decide which offer to keep. If and when you receive another offer for admission, do the same: Compare the two offers and decide which to keep. This simple strategy will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed by multiple decisions and will give other applicants the opportunity to be offered admission and then make their own decisions.