The Danger of Committing Too Early

As difficult as it may be, wait to choose a college until you have all of the facts.

With spring approaching, many colleges are beginning to release decisions, and many of my students are finding themselves with acceptances and scholarship offers! This is always an exciting time for all involved, but I find myself repeating the same advice to these students who are already ready to commit.

Do not make a final commitment until you can say with confidence that you are comfortable accepting a school’s final offer, ideally after you have evaluated all of your other schools’ offers, too!

Colleges work on all sorts of timelines. Some release decisions as early as late fall, but others won’t get back to you until late spring. A wait is VERY normal. There is no way to speed up the process, as each school has its own way of doing things and dates on which they make student awards available.

Many students do themselves a great disservice by jumping the gun and committing to a school too early. One facet of the College Dream Builder program is the college search, and we work hard to ensure that our students have balanced final lists. We do this so that you have some flexibility come decision time. Do yourself a favor and take a step back, wait to receive ALL of your offers, and decide when you’ve had a chance to compare your bottom lines.

“But if I don’t register for housing now, I’ll miss out on my favorite dorm!”

While some schools may give priority housing selection to those who commit early, the difference in what dorms are available between January 1st and May 1st is quite minimal. It’s those students who apply for housing throughout the summer that have slimmer pickings. And, most housing agreements are often binding and viewed by the school as a commitment to attend. Don’t jump the gun!

Schools are great about pressuring admitted students to commit before May 1st, as it helps them get organized and plan ahead. But the bottom line is that no school can revoke your offer if you take advantage of the May 1st candidate’s reply deadline.

Again: A school CANNOT make you commit before May 1st.

I highly recommend that my students take advantage of the control that they have in the decision process and compare their offers side-by-side before making a final decision. It’s likely that some of your schools are going to present you with stronger offers than others, but we won’t know that until we’ve heard back from each school.

Waiting is hard, and not knowing your next steps can be frustrating. But if you truly want to know that you’re making the right decision, you’ll wait it out and decide after reviewing all of the facts! Take time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and watch those acceptances roll in. Then, commit to a school after you know it’s the best possible fit for you—academically, socially, and financially.

Molly Monet – Director of Student Services

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