April is an eventful, perhaps emotional month. Besides being the time when many are finishing up their taxes, it also marks the end of waiting for news of college admissions for many seniors and their parents.
Beginning April 1, anxious students will learn their fate: acceptance, rejection or deferral. It is important to handle the news appropriately and with grace, while keeping the verdict in perspective.
Congratulations, to those receiving acceptances. Enjoy the good news with family and close friends, but remember that others in your circle or school may have received disappointing news from the same school.
For those who have been accepted to multiple schools, consider making a spreadsheet to help evaluate the pros and cons of the options available.
Besides program reputation, most students will weigh financial costs heavily. It is wise to make a call to the financial aid office to ensure to understand the terms of loans or scholarships. It is possible to make an appeal for more money, especially if circumstances have changed.
Students should understand terms of scholarships and whether they will automatically renew each year. Also calculate hidden costs of attendance, including those for transportation, housing and expenses for activities such as sports, Greek life and likely recreational choices. A personal visit to the school will help solidify a student’s decision to attend.
For students wait-listed for schools they still hope to attend, contact the admissions office and let them know of this continued desire. Send an updated transcript and resume, if needed. Ask if an interview can be arranged.
Unfortunately, deferring admissions is a tool used by admissions offices that are uncertain how many of the accepted students will actually enroll.
Seventy-nine percent of students apply to three or more schools, while 29 percent apply to more than seven, according to the 2012 State of College Admission report from the National Association of College Admission Counseling. The sheer volume of applications has led to stress and competitiveness for students and at the same time has caused enrollment management challenges for colleges.
While it can be painful to be wait-listed or rejected, students and parents should remember that, for many, college admissions to selective or even match schools, can be likened to a roll of the dice.
The good news is that large majority of students end up in colleges that are the right fit for them and thrive. Later, they often wonder why they even bothered applying to all those other schools.
Ferah Aziz is a college coach with launchphase2. P. Carol Jones is the author of “Toward College Success: Is Your Teenager Ready, Willing, and Able.”