Its important to tell colleges you are not attending

Its the time of year where seniors are receiving their admission decisions and financial aid packages. Seniors are also ruling out schools they no longer wish to attend. Its important to tell schools no so they can better plan for their first year class.

Most schools now use a portal as part of the admission process. Login to your portal account and see if there is a button or place to respond to your offer of admission. If there is not, you can send an email to the Office of Admission letting them know you will not be attending. Include your full name, high school and date of birth to allow them to match your message to the appropriate student. This email should come from the student, not a parent.

Most US colleges are members of an organization called the National Association for College Admission Counseling. As members, they had agreed to give students until May 1 to accept or decline an offer of admission. Colleges could not continue to recruit students who had told them no or who had committed or were attending another college. This all changed when the Department of Justice started an investigation into NACAC’s policies, charging collusion. NACAC settled with DOJ and as a result schools can set different deadlines. Schools can also continue to recruit–even once you are enrolled trying to convince you to transfer.

Despite these changes, telling a school no is still important. The school may have students on a waitlist who would love your spot. They may be able to offer a student hoping to attend additional financial aid. It also allows them to plan for students in residence halls, or how many sections of First Year Seminars. Small schools also dedicate a lot of staff time and resources to yielding students. Telling a school you are not attending will allow staff to focus their efforts on students still considering the school–saving you from lots of calls, emails and texts you don’t want. Last year, some schools struggling to meet enrollment goals offered students who had said no, more aid to change their decision.

If you are struggling to make a decision–see if the school offers programs for admitted students. These usually include more interaction with students and faculty to help you make a decision. Talking to a faculty member in your area of interest can also be helpful because they share details about the curriculum, internships, clubs and employment.

As always, if you need help with your college search process, please reach out to Coffman Consulting to schedule a virtual meeting to discuss your needs.

Published by Kate Coffman

Kate has worked in admissions, financial aid, college and career readiness for over twenty years. She most recently served as the Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Franklin College. Kate has also worked in admissions at Butler University and Indiana University. Kate has presented at numerous schools and conferences helping families, educators and those who work with youth understand how to be college and career ready, how to apply to college and how to afford their education.

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