And, so it is written…
Postsecondary members agree that they will:
“permit first-year candidates for fall admission to choose among offers of admission, financial aid and scholarships until May 1 and will state this deadline explicitly in their offers of admission.” (from the Statement of Principles of Good Practice of the National Association for College Admission Counseling)
This Wednesday is the magical, mystical deposit deadline for students to choose their college. And, so let me offer these last-minute suggestions to those entangled in this mystical, magical, @#$^@%^# time.
1) Run Through the Base. You’ve gone through 2-3 years of planning, arguing, traveling, debating, analyzing, writing, submitting, asking, fretting, thinking, preparing. Finish strong. Submit your deposit on time. For the right amount of $. With the proper form. To the proper college. For the proper reasons. Which leads us to bullet #2…
2) Don’t Forget Your Priorities. Because you’ve gone through multiple years of planning, arguing, traveling, etc., you may need to step back and say, “What the heck were we doing this for, again?” What was important to you, in the first place? Is it still important? Does that value fit the choice you are making?
3) Value vs. Cost. What school will provide you with the best opportunity to graduate, grow, learn and move on to a meaningful, valuable life after college? That may not be the school with the biggest financial aid package. Be careful to not weigh the latter too heavily, or the former too lightly. It is the former that will bring you back the greatest ROI – in terms of personal fulfillment AND financial satisfaction.
4) Hedging Your Bets #1 – The Double Deposit. As one of those ‘postsecondary’ guys they talked about at the top, I detest double deposits. The College Board lists the practice as ‘unethical’. Page 1 of a Google Search on the topic will leave references to ‘wrong’, ‘risky’, ‘dirty’, ‘NO’. But it has been an increasingly popular way for students and families to hedge their bets on May 1. Remember that, besides considered a horrible, terrible thing by most in my profession (and every single student on a wait list) they are also non-refundable and are completely unnecessary if bullet point #5 is in play.
5) Hedging Your Bets #2 – The Extension. Many colleges will offer an extension of the May 1 deadline. But make sure. Call and/or email your admission counselor. State a reason for the indecision. If it something they can address, let them know. There is nothing more greatly appreciated on the admission side than communication. They want to know if you are still interested. Tell them. Please note that there are many schools, also, that do not grant extensions or do so on a limited basis. The policy on extensions is closely aligned with the selectivity of the institutions in question.
6) The Refund. If you have changed your mind, do avoid the ‘accidental’ double deposit and officially withdraw your initial deposit by May 1. First, because it’s the right thing to do. Second, because most deposits are refundable before May 1 and not refundable after May 1.
7) There are still 3 more bases to run. Never forget that getting in to college is FAR less important than staying in and successfully completing college. This should be only the beginning of an amazing journey…
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call or text me at 908-403-3819, join me on Facebook on “College Counseling for the Rest of Us” and join me on Twitter at @MichaelCCR. And on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/CCRMichael?feature=mhee.