By Chuck Liddiard, Founder and Executive Director of The Paratum Scholars
For parents with kids in high school, spring is a very busy time of year. For 12th graders headed to college, April means its decision time. Here’s some advice and a timeline.
After receiving college and university acceptances/denials/waitlist, it’s time to “Decide and Notify!” Contact the college you choose to attend by the date indicated on your acceptance: for most schools this is May 1. Notify other colleges you will not be attending. If you’re having a hard time choosing, consider the following:
What did you learn from interviews, current students, and college visits? Although campus visits were likely limited in scope or to virtual visits because of COVID, see if you can picture yourself at the campus coffee shop or dining hall? Are you ready to buy the sweatshirt?
Compare your financial aid packages from the schools that accepted you. Make sure to differentiate free money (grants and scholarships) from loans; unfortunately, every school does it differently. What is your four-year cost?
Are you directly admitted into the major you want? Or do you have to reapply while in college? Can you graduate in four years or is the campus impacted? What will the total cost be to graduate?
If you have been placed on a “waitlist” for a school(s) you would like to attend, accept the opportunity if you like, but also be sure to accept and deposit at a college that accepted you.
Once you submit your deposit, don’t forget to:
Check for any other housing or scholarship deadlines. Send the deposit to your selected college and make necessary housing arrangements.
If it’s a done deal, return your signed acceptance letter and any loan applications. Remember to thank your recommenders and anyone else who has helped you along the way. Good luck and enjoy the rest of your journey.
Parents: It is not too early to begin booking airline and hotel reservations now for when you are traveling to drop off your child for their first year of school. It’s likely prices will only get higher. But consider travel insurance if a COVID surge will change your plans.
The Gap Year
Feeling burned out at the end of high school or not quite ready to jump right into college? Are you unsure what you want to major in or are you unhappy with your college options? If so, you might benefit from a gap year program. A great resource for this is the Gap Year Association: www.gapyearassociation.org
Importantly, if you are seriously considering a gap year before beginning school, please make sure you connect with all the colleges you have been accepted to and see what their policies are in taking a gap-year prior to making your college decision.