Preparing for Decision Day
You’ve worked hard… you’ve applied for scholarships, sent transcripts, written personal statements and essays, gotten letters of recommendation, visited campuses, gone on tours, worked with admissions counselors, submitted applications, been accepted, reviewed financial aid packages, talked with your parents, teachers, friends, and still haven’t quite narrowed it down… now what?! How do you choose the college you want to go to next year before Decision Day??
Traditionally Decision Day has been May 1st, but with the recent pandemic sometimes these deadlines have been extended. Check with your specific college/university admissions counselor or their application website to see when YOUR Decision Day Deadline is.
Here are 8 tips to help you navigate the process:
Try to remove bias from your decision, make it YOUR decision. Your parents and friends are great, it’s nice to hear their opinions, but at the end of the day YOU will be the one attending the college.
Try to narrow down your schools to your top two or three colleges/universities, which schools are the right fit for YOU?
Get organized and know the deadlines. Keeping a separate folder, either physical or digital, for each school accepted can be a helpful way to stay on top of any important paperwork. Marking key dates on the calendar as soon as you come across them can aid in relieving unnecessary confusion too.
Review scholarships and financial aid offers! Be realistic. What can you and your family afford? Schools may have different policies and opportunities regarding financial aid such as scholarships and grants, so it’s worth comparing and contrasting any offers to see which school will be the most affordable. Once accepted to a college, you can generally expect to receive a financial aid award letter that outlines what grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study options will be available. Remember: Scholarships and Grants are FREE MONEY and Loans must be REPAID.
Think about your FUTURE SELF — will you still enjoy being on this college campus in a few years? Will you be able to deal with this amount of change? A new city? Perhaps a new state? Will you choose to come home for holidays and breaks, what does that look like?
Talk to people who have attended the college/university. Try to ask questions about things you won’t be able to find on a university website. What kinds of jobs are available for college students in the area? Did you have a favorite subject or professor? Cool things to do in the city/area?
To reserve a spot at the college you’ve chosen to accept, you will generally need to pay an enrollment deposit fee. This fee is typically non-refundable but guarantees a spot at the school. If you are unable to afford the enrollment deposit, you can apply for a waiver (form). Contact your admissions counselor or financial aid office with questions.
Lastly, rejecting the colleges you won’t be accepting is another step to take. By not accepting the offer, you will lose your spot, but the sooner you reject an offer, the sooner the college may be able to offer the spot to another student on the waitlist.
Check out this video from a student: How to Make Your College Decision!