That date you’ve circled on your calendar is now on the horizon, just under three weeks away. May 1 is the national reply date, meaning you have until then to make a final college decision. While some of you have already made a decision and feel some weight off your shoulders, there are many others of you who are feeling the pressures that come with having to make an important decision in the near future.
On the college side, we too are feeling the stresses that come with your decision process. We are working hard to confirm our respective incoming classes, and admissions counselors nationwide are busy answering and addressing last-minute questions and concerns from admitted students and their families.
While the option to hide or run away from the madness might seem appealing to college-bound students and admissions counselors alike, here are but a few suggestions that we’d like to offer to ensure that you’re making the best use of your limited time in the 20 days remaining until May 1.
1. Fear not the modes of and opportunities for communication. Please feel free to reach out to your admissions counselors at the schools left on your list with your remaining questions, comments, and concerns. They will be happy to communicate with you in the ways you deem fit: over the phone or email, face to face, with texts, on Facebook, through Twitter, with semaphore flags, etc. Bottom line: We want to help you! (And most of us are nice and friendly.)
2. Better late than never. Be aware of any late visit programs or opportunities to see campus one more time. At Illinois Wesleyan, we are holding our second Scholars Day—a specialized open house for admitted students—on Saturday, April 21. This program, as well as April programs at other colleges, can add clarity to your decision picture. The same goes for any late opportunities to sit in on classes, meet with faculty, try the cafeteria food, speak with coaches, interact with current students, etc. For most of the schools on your list, it’s not too late to request and schedule an individualized itinerary.
3. If you’re unable to schedule a visit . . . Know that your admissions counselor can get you in contact with various members of the campus community: professors, current students, alumni, study-abroad coordinators, career advisors, mascots, and quad squirrels.
4. Financial aid review. By now, you should have received your financial aid from most of the schools you’re considering. If you’re still waiting on some, you’ll want to reach out to those schools to find out where things stand. Once you’ve received your aid, please review it in detail with members of your family—well, probably not with the family dog—and then contact your admissions counselor if there are things on the aid package that need further clarification.
5. Do tell. Once you’ve made your final decision, please reach out to all your schools to let them know of your final decision. Remember, most of us are nice and friendly (see item #1), and so we’re not going to react aversely to the news that you’ve decided to attend another school; however, I can’t promise that we won’t cry.