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Articles / Applying to College / Commitment--then 180--Before May 1?

Commitment--then 180--Before May 1?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | March 5, 2014

Question: A school wants my daughter to commit to their acting program. It is great to be wanted, but the deadline to commit is before many schools she auditioned at send acceptance letters. Is it okay to commit to a school and then change our minds if a better offer comes around?

There’s a long thread about this on the College Confidential discussion forum (see http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/1615432-are-you-being-pressured-to-send-a-deposit-before-may-1-p1.html ) and reading it has confirmed for me that many colleges are putting pressure on seniors and their families to commit before the May 1 deadline.

So, to answer your question, yes you can commit now and the college is obligated to return your deposit if your daughter notifies the school that she has changed her mind BEFORE MAY 1. However, if this college also asks you for a housing deposit, you may not get it back. Extracting non-refundable housing deposits from undecided (but nervous) families seems to be a loophole that the National Association for College Admission Counseling hasn’t yet closed.

Congrats to your daughter on this acceptance and good luck on those yet to come. Acting programs can be so unpredictable … “Harder than Harvard” is what I often call them.


Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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