What to Do If You Have a Case of the “What Ifs”

You’ve worked hard on your college list and applications.  You researched schools, visited as many as possible and have even written your essays and submitted all, if not most, of your applications. But this time of year, the inevitable “What if?” can set in. Parents can succumb to it just as easily as students. “What if the ideal college is out there and we just haven’t found it?” “What if I don’t get accepted anywhere?” “What if we don’t get any financial aid?”


Good research means good options

If you’re hit with a concern such as, “Well, I didn’t visit every single college in the world, so maybe the perfect one is still out there,” take a deep breath. There’s simply no possible way to research or visit every college out there, and there are also no guarantees that the one you pick will be “perfect.” (We will let you in on a secret… there is no one perfect college).  However, if you did some research, and especially if you had the help of a professional college counselor to narrow things down, you did enough research to find a handful of colleges that are really great matches for you. You’ve either applied to them, or you’re in the process of applying. So don’t second guess all the work you DID do. You came to your list for a reason.


The super big concern

“What if I don’t get in to any of my schools?” It’s VERY common to feel this way. Parents might wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, thinking about the worst case scenario. Students might hear from friends who are being accepted to colleges and worry about what their options will be. And sometimes, the first decision is a Denial, which makes it seem like ALL your schools will say “No”. But, again, research can prevent this from happening. Students who apply to at least two safety schools will more than likely get in to a college.  You did the hard work, there’s no looking back now. You won’t be the person who goes down in history from your high school as the person who didn’t get in anywhere. Don’t add a ton of last minute safety schools to your list. Consult with your Campus Bound counselor if you are concerned, but know that these concerns are common and typically unnecessary.


Paying for college

College costs a lot of money, it’s true. But there are smart things you can do to help yourself in the long run. Applying for financial aid through the FAFSA is only the first step. There are also academic grants that colleges can offer. And, students can research private scholarships to ease the financial strain. If you are concerned about how to pay for your child’s college program, it might make sense to meet with a financial advisor, or seek out the free financial aid resources offered by Campus Bound. But know that many families feel this pressure and the vast majority of families are able to figure out how to pay for college.


It is certainly a high-stress time, waiting for all of the admission decisions to come back. But, with some early planning and guidance, everything will work out the way it should.

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