My office is receiving daily emails from colleges reminding me to inform students that by May 1st, high school seniors must notify the college of their choice of their decision. Not only should students inform the schools of their selection, they must also send their housing deposit. If a student fails to inform a school by this date, this could lead to the college no longer guaranteeing their admission. Here are a few tips for a high school senior to make a proper decision on which college to attend.
As an 18 year old senior in high school, it is hard to imagine making a decision that will impact the next four years of their life. The first step to make sure the school is the proper social fit. The family should have already visited the campus (see our previous blog post to learn how to properly visit a school). This on campus experience hopefully provided the student enough knowledge to make an informed decision. But can the family envision the student on campus, participating in the activities in the quad, eating in the dining halls or sleeping in the dorms rooms? If they can, this is a good sign. If they cannot, then perhaps a last minute follow-up visit to the campus might be in order.
Hopefully the student has letters of admission from a plethora of schools to choose from. Reexamine each of the acceptance letters and financial aid rewards and ask yourself, “can I afford to send my son/daughter to this school?” If the answer is a clear cut yes, then compare each of the school’s finances together. Think about the programs they offer and your likes/dislikes about each school to make a proper decision. Select the school that you feel is the best fit for your child.
If there is some hesitation in affordability, here are some things to consider regarding the college:
- How many loans will the student have to take out?
- What are the interest rates on the loan?
- When will your son/daughter have to begin paying these loans back?
- What will the final amount of loans be when the student graduates in four years?
- Can my son/daughter receive the same quality education at a school that is not their first choice, but offering more in terms of financial aid?
- Is the scholarship they are receiving a one year scholarship or renewable for four years?
- Will it be automatically renewed?
Eliminate Friends From Decision
While I was writing my blog post, the Common Application posted this on their Facebook page. I felt it was only fitting to add this to my post:
Choosing which college to attend is an intensely personal decision, and you probably don’t want anyone second-guessing your choice once you’ve made it. Just remember it’s a two-way street. It’s far more important for you to celebrate and support your friends’ decisions than it is for you to understand them.
Well said Common Application!