We are hearing from colleges that their admissions decisions have been sent, or are coming out soon. In previous blogs, we’ve discussed how to deal with bad or uncertain news (here) but this is also the time of year of good news and students will have to decide among the college acceptances where they will ultimately attend.
Despite it sounding like a “good problem,” it can be a problem nonetheless. Here are a few tips and suggestions for making this decision a little easier.
Communication is key
Parents and students need to have open and honest discussions about the options. The pros and cons of each school need to be thoroughly discussed and processed. Is a school that’s far away a realistic option? Is the student willing to compromise their ideal campus for the major that’s important to them? Sometimes there are concessions that have to be explored.
Get the facts
If cost is a consideration in deciding which college to attend, the family and student need all the information they can get. What, exactly, is the financial aid package at each institution? What does Work Study mean? Do you qualify for loans and what are the terms? In additional to financial facts, other facts about the college are important to consider too: graduation rate may be important to you, or the special needs services perhaps. Whatever the deciding factors will be for you, make sure you get all the information you need; don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions!
Go with your gut
Since the student will be the one attending the school, it’s really important that they will be happy and successful there. Hopefully, students will attend “accepted student” events and be able to get a real sense of the community, culture and routines of each school. Then, ask the student, “Which school were you most comfortable at?” or “Which college could you see yourself attending?”
Get help if needed
Occasionally, a family will be at a standstill, with parents liking one school and the student wanting another. Or, parents may be having a tough time getting students to open up about their options and which school they like. Don’t be afraid to call in the professionals. A School Counselor, College Counselor, or even family friend may be able to facilitate a discussion that can help.
While this is often a time of excitement and good news, it can also be stressful and difficult. Do your best to ignore the process other people are going through and focus on your own; every family and every student is different. Just because it was easy for them doesn’t mean it will be easy for you, and it makes no difference in the long run either way. And if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask!