College Counseling Corner — Decisions, Decisions!

Sarah Soule

by Sarah Soule
Area high school seniors will soon hear from the colleges and universities to which they have applied for admission. Those students who applied early action or early decision received word earlier in the school year as to the outcome of their application. But now is the time that colleges are notifying applicants who applied with regular decision deadlines. Colleges that are members of the Ivy League typically do not release their decisions until early April.

Most colleges send students the official notification via email, so it is wise to monitor your inbox regularly. Many institutions send both an electronic update and a letter via the postal service.

Others do it the old-fashioned way and solely send the decision letters via mail, allowing students to receive the news in the privacy of their own homes. For colleges and universities that solely share the news online, they typically announce the date and time on their website for students, parents, and school counselors to know ahead of time.

Students typically apply to a range of institutions and when hearing the news, they will likely have a variety of responses. If offered admission, the immediate reaction is to jump for joy and to celebrate. Being accepted to a college is an honor and cause to honor one’s achievements. If denied, it is both natural and okay to feel disappointed and sad, but focus on the colleges that did offer admission and begin to move forward. I like to remind students that when I was a senior in high school I was not admitted to my (at the time!) first-choice college.

As I look back now, I am tremendously grateful as it led me to Champlain College where I ultimately enrolled. If I had not gone to Champlain, I never would have ended up working in my career field that I find so rewarding. Life takes different twists and turns and now, as I reflect on that college’s decision to deny my request for admission, I am thankful. I know if I had gone to what I thought was my first-choice college, I might not ever have ended up working as a college counselor!

After all of the admission decisions are received and the financial aid offers are in, students and parents need to sit down and consider many options. I encourage families to revisit campuses if time allows. It will give the student a chance to get another view of what opportunities await him/her and if the place still feels right.

Weigh the financial aid offerings and make sure the packages work for your family. Consider making a list of the positives and negatives of each institution and what is most important to you about each college. These factors should be taken into consideration as you evaluate and prepare to make the final decision.
A final decision must be made by May 1, 2017 and a contract and deposit submitted to one college or university. Students cannot “double-deposit.” Speak to your school counselor if you have specific questions about the process of finalizing your choice of where to attend. Reach out to the admissions office at the college or university as their representatives will be glad to speak with you as you make your final decision. They’re available to answer your questions.

It’s an exciting time for seniors who are looking ahead to the next four years and considering where they will attend college!

Sarah Soule is the Post Secondary Planning Coordinator at Middlebury UHS and she resides in Shelburne. She has worked in the field of college counseling for 35 years, having served as a senior member of the admissions staff at Champlain College for 20 years prior to becoming a college counselor. Sarah resides in Shelburne and has a private educational consulting practice advising students on the process of applying to college.

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