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Late Decision Announcements Cost Schools Students

winchesterwinchester Registered User Posts: 352 Junior Member
edited April 2009 in College Admissions
My daughter applied to about a dozen schools. As of this writing, March 31, we've received the admissions decision from all but one. I'll call that one "School X." We've had some decisions in hand for months, others for weeks. The last couple, except for School X, arrived this week.

Yet School X, like just about all the others, wants her to make her decision and enroll by May 1. That's not enough time. Here's why:

She applied to schools all over the country. We visited several of them but we could not visit all of them. Now that we know where she's been accepted, we *can* visit the top two or three on her list to help her decide.

She's already processing her decision about which school she wants to attend. She's already gotten over the disappointment of a couple of rejections. She's already crossed a couple of the "safety" type schools off of here list. Her mind is now occupied with mullling her top two or three choices.

We're already making travel plans. There are only so many travel days available to us in April. If we want to take advantage of the reduced prices for 14 day advance airline tickets then the opportunities for travel are even less.

Since we haven't heard from School X, it is just not in the mix. She's not thinking seriously about it. We have no travel plans to visit.

It's too bad too. School X was one of her favorites at the start of the college search and application process. But because they're the last to announce, the way things look right now, she won't go there.

Of course, she didn't *have* to apply to schools all over the country, or to that many schools. So sure, some of the problem is her (our) own doing. But she did all the right things. She thought about what she wanted in a school. She sought out the schools that had those things. She wrote all of her essays and submitted all of her applications on time, some of them weeks early.

Does anyone else have similar problems? Is one month really enough time to make this decision? Should the application/admissions decision/enrollment decision time table be adjusted so that the kids have a more reasonable time period in which to make their final decisions? What should that time period be? Six weeks? Eight? What deadlines should move? The application deadline? The school's announcement date? The kids' enrollment date?
Post edited by winchester on

Replies to: Late Decision Announcements Cost Schools Students

  • speedospeedo Registered User Posts: 1,204 Senior Member
    so when she gets her acceptance from Harvard with the full ride,
    you will be turning it down?
  • winchesterwinchester Registered User Posts: 352 Junior Member
    Good point.

    I guess depends on the particulars.

    But the particulars in this case are that it's not Harvard, and it probably won't be a full ride. It probably will have advantages and disadvantages just like all the others.

    Which brings me back to my original problem. Late responses from schools may eliminate those schools from a kid's list.
  • frankchnfrankchn Registered User Posts: 1,266 Senior Member
    ^ Depends on the school and depends on the applicant. I don't think a dream school (i.e. at HYPSM-level) sending an acceptance letter late would result in the student turning down the offer to enroll. However, a "match" school sending their acceptances late may well put themselves out of the running.

    I suppose that's why some schools lower down in the rankings send decisions (or likelies, etc...) to applicants earlier than HYPSM-level schools.
  • DunninLADunninLA Registered User Posts: 4,272 Senior Member
    In business sales, when there are multiple presentations to a buyer/committe, one always wants to be first, or last. Last is traditionally reserved for the existing supplier. It is the preferred position.

    However, I agree with the sentiment expressed by OP. We are dealing with emotions, dreams, wants and desires, fears and apprehensions, of both the student and the family. If a student is slightly more attracted to Ivy X compared to Top 20 Y, and has time to start dreaming about attending Top 20 Y after a mid March acceptance, there can develop a "first love" intensity with Top 20 Y. The Ivy, even if originally slightly preferred, may be unable to compete with all those positive thoughts about the earlier announcer, Top 20 Y.

    I do think the March 31 announcers are taking the risk of seeming brutish and arrogant -- of lording it over the applicants. The 3/31 announcers give a mere 30 days to decide, which can seem rude. Reminds me of the old ... what was it... Hee Haw? where the actress was a rude telephone operator with the line "We don't care, we don't have to, we're the PHONE COMPANY!!". I assume this "last to announce" strategy usually pays off, but OP describes a situation where it may not, or probably will not.
  • JamiecakesJamiecakes Registered User Posts: 551 Member
    I can relate but for us it's not just the acceptances it's the FA packages.

    My son is accepted at his #1 choice. He is THRILLED but if the FA package isn't enough he won't be able to go. Problem is we won't get the FA package for 2 more weeks. We can't really wait and STILL go and see the campus. He doesnt want to go on a visit if the money isn't going to pan out. On the other hand, he can hardly say yes and never visit!

    The campus is a 10 hour drive or a $400 each plane ticket and a couple days off work for parents.... and for us...well that's a lot to spend on a maybe.
  • dsultemeierdsultemeier Registered User Posts: 713 Member
    I share your frustration. The whole process has been a hurry up and then wait situation. We heard last week from all our schools except HYPS so we are just now making travel arrangements for April visits. We visited a lot of schools prior to filing applications but my D is getting accepted at the schools we didn't visit and getting rejected at the ones we did visit (so much for showing interest). I have several friends waiting on FA letters or finding out recently that an anticipated scholarship wasn't going to come through.

    On another note I read in one of those email newsletters from a private college counselor that the counselor encouraged parents to ask for an extension on the May 1 deadline and that most colleges were happy to extend the deadline if asked. So that might be a possiblity for you if your last school takes a while longer.
  • medkid06medkid06 Registered User Posts: 336 Member
    you can request an extension on the reply by date (may 1) they almost always grant it!
  • hmom5hmom5 - Posts: 10,882 Senior Member
    ^Really? Can't imagine top colleges granting extensions.

    Most of the schools that announce now are the elites which have no trouble getting the kids they want.
  • Donna101Donna101 Registered User Posts: 107 Junior Member
    We have a similar story. My son applied to his first choice (umass-amherst) in October, early action. After visiting he sent a letter stating his level of interest. When we visited, we met with faculty in his major. He was sold. He didn't want to look at any other schools. After receiving the letter that he was deferred to regular decision, he spent some time looking at other schools over Christmas break. He has been accepted at all those schools (except one, where he was not a direct admit to his major), and received the financial offers on all of them as well. We have made plans to fly to his now-first choice in April. He still has not heard from umass, and it is April 1! I know they have lots of applications to go through, but give me a break! They reviewed his application once already, and just needed his mid-year report, which they received in January. He's not feeling the love, for sure, and has cooled his interest as a result. Too bad, but it's their loss as far as I'm concerned! Sure, you can get an extension on deposits, but I think mentally we're all ready to move on.
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