6 Helpful Suggestions for Making Your College Acceptance Decision

Decisions, decisions as the May 1 student reply deadline approaches

6 Helpful Suggestions for Making Your College Acceptance Decision

If you are one of those fortunate high school seniors that has received college admissions offers from schools that you applied to, you will need to inform colleges of your decision by the National Candidates Reply Date of May 1st. Although not all schools have this deadline, the majority of traditional 4-year schools adhere to this timeline on their admissions calendar.

The decision to accept an offer can be an easy one if you have received admission to a school that is clearly your top pick along with a financial package that makes going to that college financially feasible.  In other cases, a student alas may not have as many options as you hoped to have at this point.

But today many high school students are likely to fall somewhere in between these extremes, especially as applying to multiple schools has become the norm and the decision making process is often difficult.

Here are 6 helpful suggestions for making your college acceptance reply decision:

1.    Take your time before you decide

Colleges reserve your space until the deadline, therefore there is no need to rush to send your acceptance prior to that date. This is an important decision and students should make every effort to evaluate any options and discuss them with their families and counselors.

2.    Evaluate and review all school options

When looking at the choices you have, go through your criteria and checklist that you created during the application process. What were the primary objectives for applying to these schools? For each school, look at the strength of the majors you might consider choosing, the school’s location, the range and overall quality of academic programs, the school size, its cultural fit and supplemental activities along with their financial aid and scholarship offers.  If you are waitlisted for the schools you ideally want to attend, develop a strategy to approach them. After careful evaluation, you should narrow your choice down to 1-2 schools.

3.    Attend prospective students events for accepted students

Attending college events can be a great way to network with other prospective students, and speak again with the academic directors, college advisors and other key contacts at the school you are strongly considering. Even if you have already done a campus tour, this is your chance to get a stronger feel for the culture of the school.  Prepare some questions that can help shed more light on your decision-making criteria. 

4.    Contact the admissions office if you need more time to make a decision

In some few cases, the decision to accept an offer might not be possible within the designated deadline. You can contact the admission office to request more time. However, schools ordinarily need a compelling reason for this as they will need to work through their waitlists and other important timelines in the admissions process.

5.     Send your acceptance and deposit to the school of your choice

Make sure that you send the required documents along with the deposit necessary on time. It is important that you do not accept multiple offers and send deposits in order to save your spot. This is an unethical practice that can result in a school withdrawing their offer.

6.    Notify all other schools that you do not select to attend

It is courteous to let the schools know of your decision to not attend their school in a timely fashion. This will allow schools to start assessing their admissions results and look at their waitlist.

Congratulations! You have now made it through the college admissions acceptance decision and can now transition to continuing to do a great job in the remaining school year and planning for starting college in the fall. 



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