Smart acceptance decisions for US Colleges
The Expert View
Make sure that you get the low down on making the right decisions.
Read this to get the complete picture…
It’s midnight on March 31st, the long-awaited moment has arrived and you have received all of your offers. Now you have until May 1st (Candidates Reply Date) to accept one of your offers.
The month of April is a time to refer to, reflect upon and revisit your list of universities. You probably made your original application back in the fall, and you probably did your research and course selection back in the summer of grade 11. That’s a long time ago and perhaps your thoughts and priorities have changed during the intervening months. This is why it’s important to go back and look again at your offers.
It may be that you haven’t changed your mind and your heart is still set on a particular university. But if you are going to reconsider which offer to accept here are some quick ideas of the things you need to think about.
By now you will know how much financial aid each university is offering, and therefore what the total cost of studying there will be. It may be that a university that was originally fairly low on your priority list has made you a very attractive financial aid package, and you may want to reconsider in the light of this.
Did you apply to a university in the center of New York City or a university with a beach side campus in Southern California? Which one do you now prefer?
Revisit this information and just check that the university you are about to accept does indeed offer what you want.
Housing & Meal Plans
Almost all students live in university housing (dormitory) in their freshman year, and many remain in a dormitory for all four years. When considering housing, look at cost, facilities and do you have to share a room with one or two or more students.
Do you have family living near one of the universities that you have applied to? How important is this to you?
Things you can do that will make a big difference.
Look again at each university and its academic offering…
Don’t miss the reply deadline!
Talk to your parents and your college counselor.
Look at the cost. Is it worth it?
Re-examine & re-evaluate
While going through the process of re-examining your universities, here are a few things to consider before finalizing your choice:
- How many students return after freshman year? How many graduate? Dropout rate.
- Does the university offer the majors I’m interested in? This is particularly important if you did not nominate your major on your application.
- What can I do for fun? University is about ‘live together, work together, play together’.
- What kinds of students feel at home at this university? Is it a good fit for international students?
- Visit the campuses.* Easier said than done if you live a long way from the USA. If you can’t visit a campus, email the admission office and ask to be connected with with current students or recent graduates. Your college counselor can put you in touch with former students who are now studying at that university.
Compare Financial Aid Awards and talk to your parents. This is an important step for many students. The Compare Your Aid Awards tool on the College Board website lets you compare up offers.
Some critical questions that need to be asked
Sometimes the questions are more important than the answers.
Should cost be the deciding factor?
Are my parents willing to let me go and live so far away from home?
Is the university the right fit for me?
Do I still want to go to United States, or do I want to accept an offer from a university in another country?
What am I looking for a university to provide me with?
Is the university the right stepping stone along the road to my future career?
Making the right decision
Most universities will give you until May 1st to make your decision and pay your deposit. If you do not confirm on time and pay your deposit, you risk losing your place.
Once you have made your final decision and are confident that the university is right for you, read your acceptance letter for the instructions on how to enroll. Normally this means a written commitment and pay a deposit. Keep in mind that your acceptance to university is provisional; universities still want to see that you perform well throughout the remainder of grade 12.
Once you’ve decided not to attend a university that has accepted you, email that the university as soon as possible so that they can offer the place to another student on their wait list. This is just a matter of common courtesy.
Wigsbury Frequently asked questions
Quick answers to the important questions
I have received several offers, can I accept more than one?
No. You must abide by the terms of your offer and this will include a date by which you must confirm your enrollment and pay a deposit. This is normally May 1st.
I cannot make up my mind between two top universities. Help!
Assuming that the academic offering and the costs are similar, why don’t you go and visit the two campuses and then pick the one you like best. As you walk around campus, you’ll get a gut feeling: yes, I can imagine myself being a student here; or no, I can’t imagine myself being a student here.
I have an offer from a top university, but it is more than twice as expensive as the State University my parents want me to go to. What can I do?
If you have already exhausted all the financial aid options and the expected family contribution is still too high, then you could consider doing your bachelor degree at the State University and then doing a Master’s degree at your dream, top university.
I have accepted a university in the United States, but I need a visa. What will happen if the visa doesn’t come through on time?
You must have a valid visa to enter and begin your studies in the United States. Apply for the visa as early as possible.
My parents want me to go to the same university that they attended, but I want to go and study in Hawaii. What can I do?
You’ll need to make a compelling case as to why the university in Hawaii is better. And talk to your parents again. Sorry, there is no magic solution here.
Can I accept my offer before the May 1st deadline?