Opening a college acceptance letter can be extremely nerve-wracking. In most cases, it is either a yes or no, or simply acceptance or rejection. Yes, we all want it to be acceptance! However, after receiving and celebrating your first acceptance, you will need to start making some difficult decisions very soon. Despite this being an exciting moment of your life, things can become overwhelming very quickly. Taking your time to carefully consider what to do next is tremendously important and will help you determine the right steps for your education and, subsequently, your career.
Selecting a college requires a lot of time and energy, but these 5 steps can help make the decision process more manageable and help you make the best decisions possible.
Step 1: Perseverance - Continue Good Work in High School
Do not start slacking off just yet. Just because you have been offered a position into college does not mean that you can now just not go to class and fail your final exam. Your college acceptance offer is almost never guaranteed unless you have already graduated from high school. For most of us, schools generally offer acceptance on a contingency basis, also known as a conditional offer, meaning that you must meet certain requirements, such as high school graduation with a diploma, maintaining the same level of school grades as you did before, etc. If you do not meet their requirements, they have the option to change their mind and retract their offer. So do not become lazy. Continue with your good work in school.
Step 2: Patience - Wait for More College Acceptance Letters
If you have applied to more than one college, wait for more acceptance letters before making your final decision. Each acceptance letter should clearly state the deadline for your reply. Many schools go with the National Candidates’ Reply Date on May 1. However, read the letter carefully to find out the reply date with certainty. By this date, you will need to formally notify the school that you accept the offer of admission. In many cases, you will need to submit a deposit in order to reserve your place. As a result, you do not need to rush things. Wait for more college acceptance letters. Take this time to deeply consider each offer and the benefits they can provide for your future.
Step 3: Due Diligence - Find out More Facts about the College
You can start this due diligence process while you are still waiting for more college acceptance letters. Yes, we all want more college acceptance letters, the more the merrier. However, in the end, you can choose one college only. List out the factors that are important to you. Gather as much information as you can from each college that offers you acceptance. Ask yourself: what is important to you? Compare the colleges. You may be interested in some or all of these factors about each college:
- School Reputation
- Living Expenses
- Financial Aid
- Campus Safety
- School Life
- Social Life
- Meal Plans
Step 4: Inquisition - Ask People Who Really Know
Talking about your options with trusted family and close friends is a good way to help you narrow down your college choices. They can help you pinpoint the pros and cons of each college that you may not see yourself. If you can travel, go visit as many college campuses as you can in order to gain some real-life experiences of their atmospheres. Search and attend campus events that will allow you to ask questions to professors, administrators, and students. Whether or not traveling to a campus is an option for you, you can online meet with the UniSuccess Advisors who are students going to the college. Students attending the college can usually give you their insider advice as well as inside stories that you don’t usually hear from other sources.
Step 5: The Final Decision
After taking some time to thoroughly consider all the alternatives, the time to finally make a decision has come. People you talk to can only give you advice and inputs. In the end, you have to make your own decision. When you are ready, you must use the paperwork included in your acceptance letter to accept the enrollment offer from the college that you decide to attend. Ensure that you fill this form completely in the most accurate way possible and be aware of the deadline date or the reply date. Although colleges will not reject you for incomplete paperwork, there is no reason to risk losing your spot. Similarly, decline acceptance offers from other colleges.