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Admissions Decisions and Next Steps: The Acceptance Letter

Over the last few days, we have looked at the different types of admissions decisions and next steps.  Today we will talk about acceptance letters.

You were admitted!

  • Acceptance and financial aid:  You received the decision you wanted, but you still are not sure what to do.  You now have the difficult task of weighing out the pros and cons of each acceptance- and this may include the monetary consequences that come with each tuition price tag.  You should not be expected to deposit at a school without knowing what your financial aid package will look like.  If you are still waiting to hear about financial aid, it is fine to call a school and inquire about the status of your financial aid application.   Or you may have received your financial aid package and it is not what you were expecting.  Some schools may allow you to appeal your financial aid decision, but be aware that not all schools are willing to bargain.
  • Pressure to deposit:  Another situation you may be in is where schools are asking for a housing deposit as soon as possible in order to reserve a room on campus.  Unfortunately this is the reality at some schools that have really tight housing situations.   If you think there is a chance you will attend the school and are concerned about being able to live on campus, unfortunately you may have to fork over the deposit.  Make sure you confirm with the admissions office that sending in a housing deposit is in fact necessary or ask if they assign housing based on a student’s deposit date.
  • One last visit:  If you were admitted to a school, you may also be considering squeezing in one last visit before you make your decision.  I highly recommend you do this if at all possible.  Visiting a school as an admitted student can be a very different experience than visiting a school as a prospective applicant.  You may have new, more specific questions to ask.  Now that you have been admitted, you should walk through campus and imagine what it would be like to be a student there. Cara’s post on Getting the Most Out of an Admitted Student Event may also be helpful.

Sending in the deposit

Once you have all of the information you need, you should be ready to send in your deposit.  Most schools will ask that your deposit be postmarked by May 1st.  So how do you make that all important final decision?  Here are some tips:

1.  Spend some time really thinking about your options.  Try to block out the rest of the world and really focus on what is the best opportunity for you.

2.  While it is important to make the best choice for you, you still need to take parent’s advice into consideration.  Sometimes there are monetary limitations on where you can attend.  Learn what the limits are, then follow the advice above.

3.  Make pro and con list.  For most people, organizing their thoughts in visual way can help them make the decision.

4.  Give yourself a deadline.  Tell yourself that you will make a decision by a certain date and time. This will allow you to take the pressure off before the May 1st deadline.

5.  If you really cannot decide, flip a coin.  It may seem like a ridiculous way to make such an important decision, but you may be surprised how the outcome of a coin flip sheds some light on how you really feel about a particular school.

Good luck!

 

Katherine Price

Senior Associate

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Comments

  1. This is very well-written. Thank you for the advice. What should I do if I got accepted into my dream school but did not receive enough financial aid whereas I got into my safety school which offered me much more? I would rather go to my dream school but I am worried for the future debt I will go into. Any advice?

  2. Hi, Cynthia.
    You are smart to worry about debt. Too many Americans have too much of it. You have to determine whether your dream is worth the nightmares that debt can cause. Your debts will be following you around much longer than four years. If it is a big debt, it could actually reduce your ability to achieve future dreams. So achieving a short term dream may make long terms ones impossible. You need to think carefully before you accept an offer that you cannot really afford.
    Best of luck. This is a tough decision, I realize. But don’t be blinded by the emotional high. This is a matter of dollars and sense (cents!)?
    Mark

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