Good news— you’re in! If you’ve received more than one acceptance, you have an important decision to make. Look back on any notes you may have taken during your college search and reach out to any current students you know. If you visited a school, try to remember how you felt while you were on campus. You may want to visit or even revisit any schools you’re considering.
Meet your prospective classmates and have a good look around on “Admitted Students” days. Have lunch at the cafeteria, visit the student center, look at bulletin boards around campus and read the school newspaper. Notice what students are doing— are they studying while eating or chatting and laughing? Talk to them— what’s their favorite and their least favorite thing about the school? Do you feel like you belong?
Think about what’s important to you, including price, financial aid, distance, programs, size and spirit, and compare one school to another. Make a pro/con list to help organize your thoughts and ask your parents for their feedback. Consult your guidance counselor as well.
An offer of admission requires your response and deposit by a specific deadline, usually May 1st. Review your acceptance package carefully. If you’ve received an offer for financial aid, make sure you understand the details. If you have any questions, reach out to the financial aid office for answers. Finally, submit all the required documents and information by the due date.
If you’ve been waitlisted, there’s still a chance you may be admitted. Neither acceptance or rejection, this outcome requires your immediate attention. There are four things you should take care of now:
- Send in the response card required to put yourself on the waitlist by the deadline, but preferably as soon as possible. You will not be placed on the list automatically.
- If you require financial aid, contact the school to ask whether aid will be available if you’re admitted from the waitlist.
- Contact your admission rep, by phone, email or handwritten note to express your continued interest to be admitted and to offer to provide any additional information in support of your candidacy. Update them about any new achievements not included in your file. If this is truly your top choice, let your admission rep know that if you’re admitted you’ll definitely attend.
- Talk to your guidance counselor and ask him or her to reach out to the school rep on your behalf if they feel it’s appropriate.
While the Admission Office may provide you with information about prior years’ waitlists, the number of students admitted varies from year to year. Waitlist decisions may arrive after deposits are due, so in the meantime, evaluate any other choices you may have and send in your deposit by the May 1 due date. Deposits are non-refundable, so if you’re admitted from a waitlist and choose to attend that school, you’ll forfeit the deposit you sent to the other school.
Some colleges offer admission but not until the second semester or even the following fall. There are several things to think about if you are considering this option:
- What will you do in the gap period? Options vary from school to school and may include participating in a special program, spending a semester abroad, attending another college or university, volunteering or traveling.
- If the school you’re considering will not accept transfer credits from another college or university, you will need to talk to a counselor about whether it would be possible to catch up so that you may graduate with your class. If not, make sure you’re comfortable delaying your graduation.
Take the time to evaluate your options so that you make the choice that’s best for you.