April is a big month for seniors. Those who applied to highly selective colleges will be getting their admission decisions. Others need to start deciding where they are attending and pay an enrollment deposit. Many students never got to see these colleges in-person. Making a decision is incredibly difficult when you have limited information.
Many schools are hosting virtual or in-person admitted student events. They typically showcase a student panel, faculty and academics, and student life. The in-person events would normally include either a day on campus or an overnight where students attend classes with another student, meet faculty, eat lunch in the dining room and experience student life. Whether virtual or in-person, these events can help your students discover which school they want to attend.
If your student is really struggling with what school to pick, ask the Office of Admissions if they can speak with faculty in the major areas they are exploring. Often meeting the people who will mentor them, connect them to internships and research, will help your student feel at home. Or, if the faculty are not welcoming or supportive, it might not be a good fit. If student life is more of a concern, see if they can talk to current students who have similar interests to theirs.
If cost factors into your decision, don’t forget to file a FAFSA , if you haven’t already. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples on your financial aid packages. Just because one school gave you a larger scholarship might not mean its the cheaper school. Take a look at all tuition and fees, subtract scholarships and grants (free money). Where will you have more out of pocket expenses or loans? Don’t be afraid to have an honest conversation with the colleges about what you can afford. Not all will adjust aid packages, but some may, if they still need students. Also make sure you sign up for a tuition payment plan, if offered. It usually allows you to pay your portion over 10 or 11 months. Often these must be completed in June or July.
Make sure you get your enrollment deposit in by the deadline. This will allow your child to sign up for orientation programs, register for classes and pick housing (some schools may have a separate housing deposit or orientation fees). The longer you wait to make the decision or pay your deposit, the later an orientation date they will receive. They will have a better class selection if they attend an earlier registration date.
Don’t pay two deposits if your child is still deciding. It makes it difficult for schools to know who is really coming. It also keeps a student who may be on the waitlist from being admitted. Do what you can to help your child make a decision and select their school. Once you have paid your deposit, have your child notify the other schools they are not attending. That way, their spot can be offered to another student.
As always, if you need assistance do not hesitate to contact Coffman Consulting. We know making a decision can be challenging. We can often help your child answer some questions and conduct some research that will finalize their decision.