Early Action acceptances has been received and if one of them is your dream school, you can’t wait to accept. It’s like getting your allowance and as my parents said, “it’s burning a hole in your pocket!”. Maybe it’s Mom and/or Dad’s Alma Mater and they’re pushing to send in the acceptance and housing deposit.
My advice…. Wait!
Early Action decisions aren’t due until May 1st. You have almost 4 months to get all the information you need to make a great decision. “But I toured the college and loved it. I can see myself there.” Unfortunately, most college tours just dipping your toes in the water. In order to prevent a change in colleges after a miserable freshman year, a deep drive in needed to lessen the chance of that happening. Here are some things you need to do on a full college tour:
· Sit in a large class lecture. Take notes like you were in the class. Feel comfortable?
· Visit the career services department. Who recruits there and how does the department help you get that internship or first job?
· Meet with a professor in your major.
· Stay in a dorm overnight and try the cafeteria food.
Another thing to know is the cost and how you will pay for it. You won’t know how much aid will be offered until you receive the financial aid award letter. Even then, it’s not final. Maybe you can negotiate for more merit scholarship money. Maybe your family’s income is different and you want the offer reassessed. Have your received acceptance from a competing college that offers better aid? Can you leverage one against the other? (Yes.)
So, I say wait until you have received ALL the information you need to make it work:
· Complete acceptances, including financial aid, from all the schools on your acceptance list.
· A deep visit of each of the top schools on your list.
· A talk with the admissions offices and determine if more aid is available.
· A talk with Mom and Dad about how to pay for college and if necessary, how to pay off the debt accumulated.
Only then will your dream school turn into your dream experience!