Finally! This is the month.
This is the month you’ve been waiting for, working towards over the past three years of high school, and now it’s time to make your choice. Here are some things to think about:
Weigh your options
After all the time and effort that have gone into your applications, now you need to consider carefully and thoughtfully your options for college and which is the right choice for you. Though some of you are clear about your first choice, many have to weigh the benefits of several colleges before making a final selection. Attending “Admitted Students Day” programs is an excellent way to help your decision-making, and it’s still not too late to visit your top colleges. Seeing a college through the eyes of an “admitted student” gives you an entirely different perspective than that first visit when you were worried about being admitted.
Take a close look at the financial letter
Not sure how to read your financial award letter? Call the financial aid office at each college and ask a few questions. The goal is to determine just how much you are being offered in grants and loans, and how much more you will have to cover as a family – not just for next year, but for the next four years.
Make a choice by May 1
Make sure you accept one – and only one – college by the May 1 national deadline. If you are waitlisted at your top choice and have chosen to pursue that option, you must still accept another college and pay the deposit fee to insure a space in the class. The same thing applies if you are considering a Gap Year. You must first confirm your place at a college, and then later ask for a deferment to pursue a Gap Year. It’s always a good idea to submit your acceptance a few days before May 1, just in case the Internet doesn’t cooperate during the final hours when millions of high school seniors are logging on at the same time!
Share your decision
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to share your decisions with all of those nice people who wrote recommendation letters for you – your teachers and your counselor. They care about you and they put a lot of time and effort into advocating for you. Talk to them in person and send them an actual “thank you” note. They will appreciate it.
Senioritis is real. Do your best to fight it. There is a lot to gain from ending the year with good grades, as you’ll be well prepared for final exams and AP tests, too. Remember that colleges have the right to pull their admission letter, and they do this when warranted. Use your best judgment at all times!
Be optimistic, not disappointed
If you have received rejection letters, even though they are tough, don’t take them personally. Admissions offices have to make difficult decisions, knowing all the time that very accomplished, worthy, likable students will not get in. Focus on your next steps and don’t look back. Enjoy exploring the colleges that accepted you. They are lucky to have you!
by Linda Turner, M.A., M.A.
The College Choice, Ltd.
Ms. Turner provides comprehensive and personalized guidance for families throughout the entire college selection and application process.