1. What is National College Decision Day?

May 1st is the National College Decision Day. This date represents the deadline for seniors to pick their college and submit their acceptance and make a deposit to attend the four-year college or university of their choice.

For many seniors, this is the single biggest decision of their lives. While the options may be exciting, unfortunately in life, nothing is perfect. Each school has its pros and cons. This time can be both confusing and frustrating for teens and parents. You have some major thinking to do if you haven’t already honed in on where you want to go to college. Here’s our advice, because unlike the deadline to turn in that final paper for your senior English class, this date is not flexible.

2. What do you need to do for National College Decision Day?

  • You need to gather as much information as you can about potential colleges you’re willing to get into and shrink the list. Joining Facebook groups for admitted students, reading reviews and/or chatting up current students, and speaking to friends and neighbors who have children or relatives attending the colleges you’re considering will go a long way in helping you gather as much information as you need.
  • After choosing the college of your choice, you need to inform the college that you will be attending in the fall. This often requires sending them your acceptance letter along with a deposit. Before you drop this in the mail, make sure you have all of the required documents or items needed to secure your spot.
  • If you’ve been accepted to more than one college, it’s best to let the other schools know that you will not be accepting their offer. Doing this helps free up spaces for students who made it on the waiting list at those colleges.
  • As May 1st nears, conversations with your parents are likely to increase. Use this as an opportunity to discuss money, financial aid, and other ways to pay for college. Make sure to remind them of this deadline and get the money well in advance. You should also scope out all paperwork for places that may require a parent’s signature.

3. What happens if you miss the deadline?

If you’ve missed the May 1 deadline, you need to contact the admissions office immediately and ask to speak with an admissions counselor. It is important to note that not all colleges adhere to this deadline. It is also widely known that many colleges do not accept late decisions.

Now, if you’ve applied to and have been accepted to schools that stick to this deadline, you could have a problem. Make sure you tell them about any extenuating circumstances that may have prevented you from getting your paperwork and deposit in on time. Some universities may give an extension beyond this date, but don’t bet on it. It is also important to follow-up with an email to the person you spoke with that recaps the conversation and thanks them for their time.

If your reason is serious enough, you can be given a chance after the deadline, but it is rather safer not to miss it in the first place, so try your best not to.

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