How to Make the Final Decision

The colleges have made their decisions and now students are in the driver’s seat and by May 1 they must notify the college they choose to attend. All students, even those who received notification that they are on a college’s wait-list, must send in a deposit somewhere by May 1 to assure they will have a spot in the freshman class.

If your student was accepted to more than one of his or her reach or target schools and is having a tough time deciding, count yourselves among the lucky ones. Now is the time to revisit colleges, at leaslt virtually, and really kick the tires to determine which school represents the best fit.

If a college accepted your child, they want them to attend and some colleges will be very aggressive in trying to influence your decision. Your student will no doubt be the recipient of much college paraphernalia (magnets, bumper stickers, etc.) and may even be swamped with solicitous  emails and phone calls. Colleges aspire to increase their yield rate, i.e., the number of students who accept their offer of admission. Harvard’s yield rate in the 2021 Princeton Review Best 386 Colleges is listed at 82 percent. That means that more than four of every five students who were accepted to Harvard chose to go there. A yield rate above 50 percent is considered high and with so many students applying to so many more colleges today this year. The point here is that once a college accepts a student, it is in their self-interest to do their best to encourage them to choose to attend.

One of the ways in past years that colleges reach out to accepted students and their families is through “Accepted Students Days.” These were often full-day visitation programs starting in March and running through April. All accepted students and families were invited, targeting students who have received multiple offers and are trying to decide. All bets are off this year due to Covid. Some schools are open only to seniors with offers of admission and some are closed to everyone. It is clearly important to check each school’s policy on a regular basis. If you are able to visit, it can be a wonderful opportunity to not only see the campus but validate the academic fit of the school.

If you’re unable to visit, certainly make sure you’re doing your due-diligence on the academics and watch some videos to try and get a more accurate sense of the vibe and the social fit.