College Admissions

Archive for April, 2009

Making Your Final Decision

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Just one more week till the May 1 deadline for making your final decision about college. Some of my students have been agonizing all month about which school to choose, and they don’t always appreciate it when I point out that this is a good problem to have. But if you’re having trouble deciding between two colleges, that means you really like both of them, and you can be happy at either school. Once you make a decision, you’ll invest emotionally in that school and you’ll start to feel excited about going to college. 


Some students decide to double deposit in order to keep their options open, but this is considered unethical, and if colleges find out, your admission can be revoked at both schools.  If you’re on a wait list, you do need to submit an enrollment deposit at another college so that you have a place to go in the fall. If you are admitted from the wait list at your preferred school, you just forfeit the deposit at the first college. 

Getting A Better Financial Offer

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

In recent weeks, I’ve received phone calls and emails from lots of happy students who have been admitted to their favorite colleges. Many have also been awarded generous merit scholarships or financial aid packages.


That’s important, because getting into a school you can’t afford to attend is painfully frustrating. If your financial aid package is not what you expected, it is possible to appeal. If there are special circumstances, such as a job loss or death of a parent, contact the financial aid office. They may be able to improve the package. If another school has offered a financial aid package that has more grants and fewer loans, you can send a copy of the better offer and the financial aid office may match the other school’s offer. Some colleges engage in preferential packaging, where the best aid packages go to the students they want the most.


In addition to providing more need-based aid, some liberal arts colleges are increasing merit scholarships in order to make their school financially attractive. Students are in the strongest position if other, similar colleges have made better offers. You can send copies of those offers to your favorite college, which may be more likely to increase its offer this year, rather than lose a desirable student.


For students who will be applying to college in the fall, it’s more important than ever to do your research and apply to a number of similar colleges that are likely to award good financial packages, so that you can then take those offers to the school you prefer. If that school matches the offer, you have the school you want at a more affordable cost. If your preferred school does not match the offer, you can decide whether the school would provide a significantly better college experience that is worth the extra money, or whether you would be just as happy at one of the schools that will cost less.