How to Decide the College or University that is right for Parents and Child

For high school students:
So the envelopes have arrived. You have received your acceptance and gulp rejection letters from the colleges. Now, the dilemma you are faced with is which offer to accept. You have until May 1 to pick a school and mail in the deposit. You don’t have much time to spare, so you must think quickly, but carefully.

First of all, lots of schools have receptions for admitted students. I would definitely recommend attending. For one thing, it’s the one time you are going to receive VIP treatment and good food at the college. It is also a good way to gauge what the other admitted students are like. Check out if they are people you see yourself associating with for four years. Also, observe the looks of the campus. How many students are there with blue hair? How many students are studying? Are the surroundings rowdy or silent? Receptions for admitted students are a great way to get to know the campus. Definitely attend the receptions if you haven’t visited the school already and are considering it.

Second, consider the financial aid offers you’ve received. Remember that grants are better than loans. Loans have to be repaid and grants don’t. If one school gave you a better offer than another but you would rather attend the latter, bargain with your preferred school. Tell them you need them to re-evaluate their offer. If you feel that the FAFSA forms didn’t take into account special circumstances, inform them of those circumstances. Crying helps a lot. Take into account your initial preferences when you applied for schools in the fall. Intuition is often accurate, but contemplate whether your needs and priorities have changed since you applied in the fall. This is rare. Avoid panic and avoid jumping on the bandwagon of always talking about your choice with your peers. This gets you more anxious about the decision. Talk to a select few, such as your guidance counselor, your parents, and your close friends and relatives. Most importantly, stock up on t-shirts and other fun stuff from the colleges that accepted you.

Word to the wise about the wait list

Being placed don the waiting list is probably the most anxiety provoking news to hear. It is an ambiguous decision- you aren’t in but you aren’t out either. You have to make a decision whether or not you want to remain on the waiting list. If you do stay on the waiting list and then earn acceptance status, you risk losing your deposit for another school. You wont find out if you are off the waiting list until after you have to make your deposit. So you have to decide if losing the deposit is worth the chance to go to a school you really love that wait listed you. The other tormenting thing is that you may not find out whether you are off the wait list until the middle of the summer. The uncertainty adds up. If you do decide that you want to subject yourself to being in limbo (by remaining on a waiting list) here are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting off that wait list. Convey to the college that you wish to stay on the waiting list and are very interested in the school. Try to find out if they have ranked the students on the waiting list and where you sit. Some rank students, some don’t. Inform the college of any notable achievements that were not mentioned on your application. Avoid repeating accolades that they already know about you. Ask your guidance counselor or college counselor to call on your behalf. Don’t take extreme actions such as camping out by the admissions office or constantly calling the admissions office.

If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. Every college has some advantages and some disadvantages. Relax. You’re worth it!