Road Map for January: Seniors

To those of you wrapping up your Regular Decision applications this week, congratulations! And for those of you who submitted Early Decision and Early Action applications, I hope you’ve been receiving good news from colleges in the last few weeks.

If your ED application was deferred it will still be considered in the regular decision pool; however, you are released from the ED commitment. This means that you are now permitted to apply EDII to any school that offers it. This could boost your chances if you’re prepared to make a firm commitment and are able to do so without comparing aid with other schools offers. It’s also appropriate if you’ve been deferred from a college’s early round to communicate with the admissions office about your continuing interest in the school and any new information they haven’t seen yet, such as extracurricular accomplishments or awards. Academics will be covered in the midyear report, which your school counselor will send in the coming weeks. And speaking of your counselor, keep him or her updated on decisions for any schools you’ve heard from so far.

As admission offers come in, financial aid is usually not far behind. When comparing offers, you want to focus on two bottom line numbers: what you’ll pay each year and what you’ll borrow. A large scholarship at an expensive school is appealing but may be comparable to a smaller award at a lower-cost school.  Although colleges are not required to use it, the Department of Education recommends this format for financial aid award letters to make it easier to compare offers.

Once you are admitted, colleges will also be inviting you to admitted student events on campus or in your local area. Take advantage of these if you’re able to; they are excellent opportunities if you haven’t had the chance to tour all of the schools on your list, or want to visit again to get a better understanding of the differences among your choices and which might be the best fit.

Finally, if you’re considering a gap year, save the date for your local gap year fair and in the meantime, take advantage of these free resources for gap year planning.  For one-on-one guidance from our gap year experts on choosing programs or fitting a gap year into your college plan, contact us for an appointment.