Congratulations, you have been accepted to college! Now what? For many students, their first thought is to send in that confirmation deposit to save their spot at their first choice college. However, here are some things to consider before sending in that non-refundable deposit:
- Wait for Financial Aid. When I worked on the college side of admissions, we would receive so many confirmation deposits before we sent out financial aid award letters. For some at the college, they thought it was going to be a great year with many students coming in the fall. However, for those of us in admissions, we knew some of those students would not be attending in the fall. Unfortunately, financial aid offers are not always enough for families and they just cannot afford the college the student wants to attend. For students who applied regular decision, you have until May 1 to send in your decision to a college. So, wait until you know all of the financial information so you know if you and your family can handle the financial cost of attending the college you are considering.
- Get your questions answered. Now that you know for sure what colleges you may be attending in the fall, it is time to make sure you have all of the answers you need to make your decision. No question is too big or small when making such a big decision. And, don’t just ask your questions to the admissions professionals you have connected with during the admissions process. Reach out to professors, staff members, and current students. They may be able to give you information you cannot get from admissions and all of the marketing publications you have received from the college.
- Visit. If you have not visited the college yet, you need to visit before making the final decision. Colleges can look great on paper and the internet, but you won’t know how you feel on the college campus without visiting. If you have visited already, you may want to consider revisiting to make sure you are making the right decision. Many colleges offer admitted student programs that will make it easy for you to get all of your answers. However, if you cannot make the special program for admitted students, visit the college when it is convenient for you (before May 1 of course). When visiting, make sure the college feels right and it is a place you can see yourself attending in the future.
- Take your time. May 1 is National College Decision Day. May 1 is the day colleges want to know if you will be attending their college or not. Therefore, you have time to weigh your options and make sure you are choosing the right college for you.
Being admitted to a college is exciting! Be proud of your accomplishment of getting that acceptance letter (or email). While it is tempting to respond to your dream college by sending in your confirmation deposit right away, wait! You do not need to respond right away – for many colleges decisions, you have until May 1. Therefore, take your time with the decision and make sure you have all of your questions answered before making the commitment.