Ohhhhh… what a week! If you submitted an Early Decision or Early Action application, you’ve probably heard some news by now.
Here's our checklist if you've been admitted, and we'll cover other scenarios in subsequent posts.
1. Share the happy news with your high school counselor and your recommenders and thank them.
2. Make your enrollment deposit by the stated deadline (usually by January 1).
3. Withdraw your other pending applications and decline any other offers of admission (because Early Decision offers are binding). All you have to do is send a two line email to the admissions office at the other colleges:
"Please withdraw my application from consideration. I was admitted to [name of college] through Early Decision and I will be enrolling there.”
Sign it with your full name, your birth date, and the name of your high school to make sure they withdraw the right application and mark the right offer of admission as “declined.”
4. Follow through with financial aid deadlines and documentation.
5. Don’t lose steam. You have to graduate, you have to keep up your grades, you still have to stay out of trouble….
Your biggest decision right now is whether to accept one of your Early Action offers or whether to apply elsewhere for the Regular Decision or Rolling Decision deadlines that are coming up.
If you decide to accept, follow the checklist above for Early Decision. Make your enrollment deposit by May 1.
If you decide not to accept:
1. Go back to the criteria you developed when you were putting together your original college list. Review it and update it with all that you have learned about yourself (and about the various colleges) over the last year or so. Don't be afraid to include criteria that are very specific to you.
2. Imagine your reaction if you were to accept your Early Action offer. Test that decision in your mind and in your gut. Try it on. Does it seem right? If it does, then you are done. Accept the offer. Pay the deposit. Get the sweatshirt. Tell the world. If it doesn't seem right, take some time to discover why the decision doesn't feel right. Be honest with yourself.
3. If you still don't have a decision that feels right on April 30th, then you are probably suffering from decision paralysis induced by a case of perfectionism. You are worried about making the RIGHT decision, when you should be focused on making a GOOD decision. As is often the case in life, there may not be one right decision here. So you have to accept that and focus on making a good decision.
Anna Ivey is one of the founders of inli.ne. An experienced admissions consultant and a frequently cited media expert on the topic of college admissions, she is also co-author of the book How to Prepare a Standout College Application. Learn more about Anna's background here.