Too Many Acceptances?

Some high school seniors are accepted at every college where they applied. If you’re one of those with an embarrassment of riches, congratulations.

Believe it or not, having a pile of acceptance letters from colleges you like can pose a problem. It’s a happy problem, to be sure, but a difficulty nonetheless.

Perhaps you were accepted to your clear, first-choice college in December, through an Early Decision application. Maybe, in your pile of acceptance letters, there is one that suits you perfectly, making all the others inconsequential. If either of those situations is yours, there’s no problem.

What should you do, though, if you have three or four acceptances and none is a clear favorite? This happens more frequently than you might imagine. The solution to finding the right one lies in doing some careful review and consultation with your family.

If considerations such as location, student-body size, program offerings, and reputation are all about equal (and you detect no true preference stirring in your heart), then money has to be a major consideration. With your acceptances come the financial aid packages. Examine them carefully. Ignore the “sticker price” of the schools for a moment and go straight to the bottom line.

Which school’s offer puts the smallest drain on your family’s finances? Is there a clear winner now? If there’s no other criterion for deciding, then money should make up your mind. Don’t forget that you can earn some extra financial aid sometimes with just a phone call to the college’s financial aid office. After you have satisfied yourself that you have the best-possible packages, then decide.

Remember, too, that you could make a quick visit between now and May 1, the traditional enrollment notification response deadline. Visits can sometimes sway the undecided. Please keep your parents involved in your decision. They maintain a large stake in your college education. Even though most parents respect their child’s decision on college selection, they can provide valuable perspective for that decision.

Regardless of where you end up going to college, compliment yourself on a college admissions process well done.