Decisions and Choices

Decision time.The notifications have arrived and choices need to be made. So much anxiety pervades this time of year. Questions keep students and parents awake late into the night: What if I wasn’t admitted to my first choice? What if I’ve been admitted everywhere? How do we decipher different financial assistance packages? What if I make the wrong choice?

Some advice from a seasoned veteran:

  1. You will make the right decision. Go into this part of the process with this attitude and you can’t go wrong. I know it seems oversimplified to offer this kind of advice but you are a smart, accomplished, capable high school senior (or the parent of one) and you are equipped with the wherewithal to make this decision. Using your research skills, past experiences, future goals, heart and mind, you will pick the school that will be the right place for you. 
  2. You can transfer. i.e. You can change your mind. Where you begin your studies is not necessarily the school that will become your alma mater. Keep this in mind if you were not admitted to any of your top choice schools or if you are stricken with a full blown panic attack surrounding the need to make a decision. In my experience I’ve worked with students devastated by a denial from their first choice school. Forced to attend another school on their list, they ultimately found complete satisfaction and by the fall of their freshman years they had no interest in attending their former dream colleges. 
  3. Pick up the phone and ask questions. Confused about your financial assistance package? Concerned about academic/social/extracurricular opportunities? Wondering how to submit certain forms? I can’t stress enough that you are entitled and encouraged to pick up the phone and ask questions. Call the admission office. Call the financial assistance office. Talk to a dean, an advisor, a coach. The ball is now in your court-- you are allowed to ask as many questions as you want.
  4. Make your own decision, part I. Once the admission decisions arrive, everyone will come out of the woodwork offering suggestions and advice. That random relative you haven’t heard from in ages will have an opinion. Your mom’s business partner will quote the US News and World Report rankings. Tune out the noise. Turn off the chatter. As mentioned above, you will make the right decision. You don’t need to concern yourself with everyone else’s biases, thoughts, comments, worthless drivel, etc. This is a decision between you and your parents. No one else.
  5. Make your own decision, part II. As much as you may be in love with your boyfriend or girlfriend, try to make the decision while separating your emotional connection. Same advice goes for best friends. Relationships end. Don’t have your college decision, probably the biggest decision you’ve ever made, predicated on other people’s choices. Good friends will stay in touch despite the distance. Love affairs can continue at different universities.

In conclusion a college admissions blessing: May you see that you have the strength and knowledge and self-awareness to make this decision.

Lisa Cynamon Mayers

Senior Admissions Consultant