You’ve been admitted! Now what?
For undergraduates who applied to the US, the official notification cut off for admissions letters is April 1st. That is only three days away! (MBA and post-grad applicants are also in the midst of regret/accept letters) How can you prepare yourself for the experience of joy, disappointment and ultimately decision? Below are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate your way to the end of April when you’ll have to confirm your attendance and pay your deposit. First of all, in the event you are declined admission at your top choice college, take the time to mourn the loss of your dream. But after you have done this, move on and look on the bright side. Safety and target colleges are usually great options and you shouldn’t be disappointed. Embrace what you’ve got and realize that any college would be lucky to have you. Move forward with a plan make the most of the experience that is being offered to you.
Also, do not take admissions decisions personally and don’t compare yourself to others. Evaluating your acceptance letters against your peers will only cause you torture. You will never know for sure why your friends got in and you didn’t. Appreciate what you have and move on.
This brings us to the relevant question of how do you ultimately choose the right college for you among the set of options you’ve been given? You may have asked yourself similar questions when you decided where to apply, but you should revisit the following criteria and decide how important each one is for you:
Curriculum, Courses and Majors: Which college’s academic program appeals to your interests and style of study most? Consider whether you want more flexibility in your major or whether you seek an intensive,
directed course from the start.
• Campus Environment and Climate: City, Suburban, Rural, Consolidated campus vs. Distributed campus; East/West/South (the value of warm weather cannot be overestimated in my opinion!)
• Student Mix: Is the college coed? Are there students from all over the country/world, with different backgrounds and experiences?
• Size of school: Undergrads/grads; Student : Faculty ratio; Average class size; Professors vs. teaching assistants taking entry-level classes
• Opportunities for further studies and employment: Research; professional schools; internships; graduation placements
• Alumni network: Domestic; international; strength; accessibility
• Facilities, extracurricular activities and sports: Access to labs, computing
centers, and music, theater, athletic facilities and competitive sports
• Cost v. Prestige: Financial aid or a ‘brand’ name college? Decide what is more important – lightening your financial burden and being a merit scholar, with special status or privileges on campus, versus going to a well recognized college that your peers (and your parents peers!) have heard of.
Finally, speaking of parents, this is a big milestone for you too, but let this be your child’s own achievement for a while and let him/her think about this decision independently before the entire family starts giving opinions. A parent last year wanted his daughter to attend a college that was ranked higher than the one she wanted to attend. Her reasons for choosing the lower ranked (but still excellent) college stemmed from personal comfort, geography and curriculum offered. She had thought through these things and eventually got to attend the college of her choice where she is now thriving.
It is a wonderful time of year so whatever is in your mailbox, savour this moment of promise and look forward to a bright new future!