And now…the decision.
March is over and all your admissions finally been announced. Whew. Now, the choices…how to make that final decision? Here are a few tips from my former students/families on what tools they used to choose wisely.
1- Use the Force..aka ‘social media’ (That was a direct quote from a student, really!)
Facebook Admitted Student groups: For those of you admitted to colleges that use these closed FB groups, you probably got an email invitation to join it. DO IT. Use all avenues to see if you fit in with this group of students!
2- VISIT! Nothing beats your ‘boots on the ground’. Go during an Admitted Students Day, if you can. Beware that everything will be hyped up to its shiny best during this spotlight weekend. GO ANYTIME to visit the campus that you can fit it into your schedule. While you are there as an Admitted student, call/email for an appointment with a professor in your major to ask questions about the facilities, the research going on, anything that makes this college unique. Ask students where the local coffee/boba tea/sandwich place is that they all go to and SIT THERE. Observe the type of students. Do you feel comfortable? Make notes before you leave campus, especially if you are visiting more than one college in a day.
3- MONEY $$$: Please keep this key point central to your decision. Yes, the name of the college can be very attractive. Will it ‘give’ you success? NO. YOU will give yourself success. I can give you countless stories of students who went to lesser known colleges that found successful careers after college. And, I can give you even more stories of students who went to ‘prestigious’ colleges, only to graduate with no connections or very few career opportunities. YOU MAKE THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE. The college does not make YOU. Graduate with less debt. Think longer term than 4 years, because the debt you may incur in those short 4 years could impact the following 10+ years of your lifestyle.
4- This is YOUR decision: I know your friends mean so much to you, and that their approval is important. But, in less than 2 months, you will not see most of your high school friends very often. Please remember that. This is for YOU - after June, your life and those who surround you on a daily basis will drastically change.
5- Waitlists: I know that some of you will want to be on a college’s Waitlist. This enrollment tool (college is a business!) was even more widely used this year. Know your odds and follow the waitlist process carefully. Are you/your parents willing to lose a deposit on a school that has accepted you if you don’t hear back from the waitlist until after May 1st? Each college gave you a link to indicate your interest for being on their waitlist. If they didn’t tell you how many students are on that list, do your own research (know the odds!) such as this UC Santa Cruz Admissions article posted about the admissions statistics. Google “Waitlist FAQs” in the college’s website search tool to learn more if the college didn’t provide you enough facts.
Meanwhile, put MORE research into the colleges that HAVE ACCEPTED you to help you make an informed decision by the May 1st deposit deadline. Enjoy the journey!