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Declining Admission, When do you do it?

SarripSarrip 464 replies22 threads Member
When DS09 was making decisions regarding which of his accepted colleges he was going to attend, we pretty much made decisions as they came in. I remember that the first was a full ride and I was attempted to sign on the dotted line at that point. but didn't. The next came and and he decided that he would prefer the full ride so we declined the other pretty quickly also thinking that that it was not fair to hold on to it if we knew that he was not going to attend. In the end he did not go with the free ride but with a school that met full need and gave a great package. Now with DD20, we have not really received any offers yet that we prefer above others, however, if the last EA expected on Feb 1 is received favorably it will probably knock many others off the list. Just curious as to whether people wait until April 30th, perhaps to review all packages/offers or as the offers come in.
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Replies to: Declining Admission, When do you do it?

  • happy1happy1 23338 replies2310 threads Senior Member
    edited January 18
    It is fine to wait until you are 100% sure. Colleges count on a certain percentage of accepted applicants turning down the offer of admission so it is not like the admission officer will run out and extend one more offer when they find your D turned them down.

    FWIW early in the process my S turned down two EA/rolling schools that he was sure he would not attend (had offers from preferred schools at same or better price tag). However, he did hold onto a couple of other EA/rolling offers until the very end -- we attended the colleges' accepted student days in April. While ultimately he did not attend those schools, they were truly contenders.

    So my advice is to do what makes sense -- IMO you D should not give up any acceptance until she is very very sure that she will not attend that particular college.
    edited January 18
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6291 replies10 threads Senior Member
    My kid declined a few as he received offers he preferred. But I think he declined the final five or six the last week of March, after he'd done revisits and made a decision and submitted a deposit. They were all in the mix until the end.

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  • chaphillmomchaphillmom 103 replies11 threads Junior Member
    It's coming down to three 'finalist' schools for S20, but he is waiting to hear about programs within those three schools before he makes a final decision (extra merit scholarships/ research fellowships etc.). I think we don't get the final pieces of the puzzle until mid-late March- so will hold off until then. At that point, I'm envisioning that we are sitting around the table debating pros/ cons/ cost etc before he makes the final call.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5988 replies1 threads Senior Member
    edited January 18
    We waited until we were sure. Once sure, we told the schools quickly. At this point (mid January) a few years ago we were still definitely undecided.

    One daughter attended a school where you get to be assigned to a dorm as soon as you tell them you are coming and pay your deposit, which was a reason to decide a few weeks before the deadline.

    I am under the impression that schools do not overbook generous merit scholarships as much as they overbook on acceptances. For this reason we did decline a "super safety" that had offered a very generous merit scholarship (nearly full pay) as soon as we knew D2 was going elsewhere, even though she hadn't decided yet between 3 different schools.
    edited January 18
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80177 replies720 threads Senior Member
    edited January 18
    happy1 wrote: »
    It is fine to wait until you are 100% sure. Colleges count on a certain percentage of accepted applicants turning down the offer of admission so it is not like the admission officer will run out and extend one more offer when they find your D turned them down.

    Given the need to estimate yield accurately, a college that issues EA or early rolling admission offers presumably assigns a yield value to each admit. I.e. if a specific admit is estimated to have a 23% chance of matriculating, s/he counts as 0.23 student added to the class. If the student declines admission early, then s/he now counts as 0.00 student added to the class, so that the college now has 0.23 student spaces more left to fill than before the student declines admission. This may result in an applicant at the margin being moved from the waitlist to the admit group.

    Of course, the reverse can happen if the student matriculates early, changing his/her yield value from 0.23 to 1.00, reducing the number of remaining spaces in the class by 0.77, so the college may admit fewer than it would have otherwise.

    While colleges "overbook" based on assumed yield chance for each admit, this does not mean that they will ignore new information that affects yield (i.e. early admits matriculating or declining early).

    However, the above is not really too much of your concern in your personal decision. Decline an admission offer only when you are certain that you will not attend.
    edited January 18
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  • bloomfield88bloomfield88 291 replies0 threads Junior Member
    As soon as my kids knew they were matriculating, they paid the deposit and immediately contacted those admissions departments who accepted and those still waiting to hear from so some other kid could get that spot.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6291 replies10 threads Senior Member
    ^^ Colleges do not "offer a spot" to another student when one declines. They have yield projections and expect a certain number of students to decline. Iow, it's not like a full parking lot where one car can enter only as one leaves.

    It IS true that SOME colleges may go to their waitlists earlier than the final decision date (usually April 30) if the # of admitted students declining spots is significantly above their projections. But many of the schools will wait to see exactly what the class still needs after the final decision date before deciding who to accept from the WL. (That's the luck part of this. If the dust settles and there's a gender imbalance, the WL offers will reflect that.)

    It is great to be considerate of others in the process, and by all means, let the school know when you are absolutely sure you will not attend. But if you are not ready to decline for any reason, there is no moral imperative to rush. The system will work fine as long as you stick to the deadlines.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 80177 replies720 threads Senior Member
    ^^ Colleges do not "offer a spot" to another student when one declines. They have yield projections and expect a certain number of students to decline.

    Admits who decline or matriculate early are new information to the college for the purpose of managing the size of its incoming class. Do you really expect colleges to ignore this new information that can be used to adjust yield expectations?
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5485 replies261 threads Senior Member
    edited January 18
    Our son held on to his EA school until he was safely through basic training (mid August) prior to entering USMA as injuries can cause turnbacks. The service academies recommend holding on to Plan B as insurance against this possibility. The EA college was fine with this. No one is harmed as all colleges over-admit expecting declines and no-shows, waitlists are deep, and none of the colleges coveted here ever find themselves underenrolled. Do what makes sense for your family and don’t give it another thought.

    ETA: We did lose the deposit, but small price to pay.
    edited January 18
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6291 replies10 threads Senior Member
    It depends on the school. For one that has rolling admissions and is releasing decisions in the fall, I would guess that they compare responses to what they expected for that time of year and that they may adjust if there is a significant variance. It is new information, but maybe not information that is vastly different from expected. If it is, you are probably correct that they will adjust. But to be fair, we see schools every year that over enroll and we see others with lots of WL activity, so the dynamic modeling you credit admissions with doing still seems to have a pretty significant unknown component.

    For a LAC that has only ED and RD and fixed decision dates for releasing those and a final date for students to reply with their decisions, no, I don't think it'll change anything. Those schools will go to the WL on the same date in May. The number of offers they extend at that point and what they want those students to bring to the campus may differ from year to year, but the process will not.

    And as I said above, we have seen schools here on CC that have gone to their WL after all RD decisions have been released but before May.

    But remember that WL offers in May, vs more RD acceptances, have a very short decision (24 hour verbal) turnaround so they are ideal for a school that is putting the finishing touches on its class. Many of the LACs have WL that are bigger than the whole freshman class (shame on them!) so have little difficulty in identifying the last 30 students who will round out the class as needed and they don't have to worry about yield because the timeframe provides definitive information for them to work with.

    So my point remains the same. The schools are prepared to handle waiting for your decision. When you are ready to give it, do so. But it doesn't mean that some other deserving soul will necessaily benefit. They may have fully anticipated that for every three people like you who was offered admission, only one would say yes.
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