It is almost April 1st, so by now you more than likely have received decision letters from the colleges you have applied to. The wait is over. You have the envelope in hand and you thought that this part would be easy, but making your final decision can be complicated.
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. There are no guarantees with this, but sometimes it does not hurt to ask.
- 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.
You have been wait listed.
- The waiting game: If you receive your decision and you have been placed on the school’s waiting list, unfortunately you are going to have to wait a little longer to know the fate of your application. Being wait listed is very similar to being deferred and if you are in this situation, you should follow the guidelines I previously posted for deferred students. You will have to deposit at another school and if your first choice school takes you off their wait list (which may not happen until June) you will have to forfeit the deposit you submitted at the other school.
- Wait list and financial aid: Another unfortunate reality of being on the wait list, is that often times schools will not be able to provide financial aid for students they take off of the wait list. If financial aid is a big concern for you, you should call and ask if there will be financial aid available for students admitted off of the wait list prior to deciding whether or not you want to remain on the wait list.
We regret to inform you…
- The reality of the rejection letter: You may have received the decision you were dreading, the rejection letter. Your first thought may be, “Is this the final decision?” In most cases, yes it is. Some schools will allow you appeal your decision, but this is very rare and a school will usually only change their decision if there has been some unforeseen error (like the wrong transcript was placed in your file).
- Think about transferring. If you heart was absolutely set on one school, then I would encourage you to pursue the transfer process. My previous post on the transfer process should give you some insight on how the process works. Definitely call and connect with the transfer admission counselor at the school you have been rejected from. Ask for feedback on your application. Where there certain academic areas you need to improve on? Was testing a huge concern? Is testing still considered in the transfer process? Can you transfer for the spring term or do you need to wait a full year? For some highly competitive institutions, the transfer process may be more competitive than the first year process, but for most institutions, the transfer process is very different.
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. 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.
Or you can pick your school Luann’s way…