Road Map for March: Seniors

Congratulations to all of you who got good news in the early application round! While most of my students are still waiting for regular decision outcomes to finalize their choices, some are submitting enrollment deposits to claim their spots in the fall class of their future college home. Students can generally expect all remaining admission offers to arrive by April 1, and you have until May 1 to make your decision. As you receive decisions you should expect to be invited to admitted student events over the coming months. I hope you’ll be able to take advantage of these opportunities to see your choices in more depth before making a decision.

At this time of year high schools are in the process of sending mid-year reports to any colleges that have admitted you or are currently reviewing your application. Make sure to visit each school’s portal to confirm that this information has been received, and follow up with your school counselor if necessary.  And don’t forget that the college where you enroll will also receive a copy of your final grades, so don’t let senioritis take over! Although it’s not common, it is possible for a college to revoke an offer of admission if your grades drop significantly.

As you consider your choices, you may be including cost as a factor in your decision, as most families do. If you have not completed the FAFSA and are hoping to receive financial aid, submit it as soon as possible, as well as the CSS Profile if the college requires it. Most states have their own programs for residents as well, so check your state’s higher education website to learn about any state financial aid that might be available. Remember to evaluate each school’s offer based on two bottom lines—what you’d be paying each year (the check your family will be writing) and what you’d be borrowing.  This calculator is a great tool to help you understand what attending each college would actually cost your family, and this one is useful to understand what your commitment would be with any loans you decide to take on.

Finally, you might consider making an appeal if your top choice school does not give you enough funding to meet your level of need. This website offers guidance on approaching the school’s financial aid office. I’m also available to help students talk through their choices, including financial aid offers and gap year opportunities. Please email me to schedule a consultation.