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How to decide on a school after acceptance.

birdandchicksbirdandchicks 8 replies4 threads New Member
I have twin seniors that have mostly applied to early action/decision to 6 schools each.

One girls did ED to her top school. She's easy. If she doesn't get into that school she has a order for the other schools that she applied to.

Her sister on the other hand is one of those "I don't know where I want to go" kids. No amount of college visits or discussions have amounted to a decision. We can pay for instate schools and she doesn't want to go far away from home. We visited and she applied for all the schools that fit that criteria. With the exception of the private school my husband works at because we get a break on the tuition.

She has acceptance to 3 of the 6 schools. The remaining 3 (which includes my husbands employer) are a bit of a stretch for her either b/c they are too far away or are harder to get into.

I'm trying to help her decide from the 3 that are available. Anyone else have a teen that isn't decided about where to go and what to study? It's very frustrating. I'm pushing her to make some kind of decision b/c I've heard housing fills up quickly at one of the 3 schools. Also it's much easier to apply for things like honors and scholarships to one school instead of multiple schools.

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Replies to: How to decide on a school after acceptance.

  • bjscheelbjscheel 605 replies5 threads Member
    Hmm, that's tough. And I get you on the wanting to decide now. DD'19 definitely benefitted from signing up for housing on the earliest possible date. It was 11/1 and she wasn't certain at that point but the housing deposit was refundable (no enrollment deposit required). Can you do that at the place that fills up?

    Her scholarship interviews and audition weren't until February and by that time she wasn't considering other places anymore.

    Do any of them offer more majors of interest than the others, since she is undecided?

    Can she make a list of wants? D'19 had a very specific list and the winner actually met them all. It ranged from needs like her uncommon major, to wants like having a college aesthetic with brick buildings, looking good in the school colors, and having Chick-fil-A.

    Another thing is a game where you make her choose one over the other, quickly by gut feeling. "If you had to choose A or B right now, which one? Okay what about between A and C?"
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  • Techno13Techno13 306 replies11 threads Member
    Those are good tips-- love the game idea! Consider something similar: make a table with her criteria (needs and wants) each with a weight (how important that criterion is). Then score each school for each criterion, weight the scores and get a rank order. Hopefully no ties. The end rank won't be important as she will likely end up gaming her own system by adjusting the score or weight to get the #1 rank she wants but doesn't know she wants. Its a very revealing exercise.
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  • blossomblossom 9962 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Worst thing that happens is that she decides on a school and ends up in a dorm a little further out, or with shabbier furniture. I wouldn't use the housing issue to force a decision if she's not ready to make one.

    And totally agree with Thumper on the re-visit. Colleges look MUCH different once a kid knows he or she is in!
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5972 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Accepted student days looked pretty different to my kid than college visits, so I am also going to vote for holding off until she can do that (in spite of the dorm issue.)

    She will also be that much closer to matriculation, and that sometimes shifts the priorities. A lot of kids who are happy in their senior year have a part of them that is a bit challenged by the idea of not being there the next year. But as classmates start planning for graduation and college, it's all a bit more real and what matters really emerges.

    And I too am a fan of @Techno13 's method. As soon as the process starts returning the "wrong" answers, the right answer itself appears. The process itself is a very non-threatening way to move things along.
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  • bjscheelbjscheel 605 replies5 threads Member
    I do agree that it is pretty early to decide, that's why I wondered if they could do the one housing deposit without committing otherwise.

    DD did change a lot over senior year, those changes in attitude tipped her more toward the one where we deposited so it worked out anyway.

    Maybe some other points to consider- how do the gen ed requirements look? (Another item on DD's list was ability to take Plant Science as one of her science credits.) Would one take more of her AP or DE credits? Are any of them easier to get to and from?
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  • SJ2727SJ2727 2004 replies6 threads Senior Member
    edited November 19
    I wouldn’t push to decide now; even if housing is an issue, it’s one factor for one year of a four year journey - I don’t think that should end up being a deciding factor. And I wouldn’t push for a decision from someone so undecided now even if all offers were in hand, which they may not be. That path leads to regrets (or maybe just to a forfeited deposit, which may be worth it to you as insurance). And definitely agree that there is a big difference between college visits and accepted student days, so that might indeed help a decision.
    edited November 19
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79097 replies703 threads Senior Member
    If she is undecided on major, investigate whether entering any of her possible majors requires a high college GPA or highly competitive admission process after enrolling as an undeclared student.
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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 230 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Agree with everyone else. Decisions don't need to be made for over 5 months. She just might not be ready now. And she doesn't have answers from all her schools yet either. The reach schools might pan out.

    What is the situation with the housing deposit? Is it expensive? Is it refundable? If not, is it worth making the deposit just in case she chooses that college even if you might lose it?

    My dd was very undecided. She had some favorites and narrowed it down to 2, but had trouble with the final decision. We did admitted student days to both which made her like both more. Her choices were VERY different from one another. Both excellent in her major but extremely different in most other ways. One was a small, southern school and once a huge midwesterner state flagship. One had big sports, one not so much. One would allow her to continue in a sport she'd done forever - but she wasn't completely sure she wanted to. One was in driving distance from home, one a flight away. Culture wise they were pretty much opposites. She liked things about each of them. We did lots of pros and cons lists but it wasn't helpful. She literally changed her mind daily. I think she made her decision a day or two before the deadline. It was a rough process but she did it and I truly think she made the right choice for her. Your daughter will too!
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  • birdandchicksbirdandchicks 8 replies4 threads New Member
    I love boards like these. Really helps to put it into perspective. Thanks for all of the good advice.

    The housing deposit is non refundable and is about $400 per school. I'm okay with possibly loosing the deposit for one school but not for more than that. One of the schools admits 7,000 freshman but only has space for 3,000 in the dorms.

    Even if the reach schools pan out I really only see her going to the one my husband works at and (of course) that's the latest one.

    PrdMomtol, my daughter will do exactly the same thing and will make herself and everyone else crazy. sigh.

    Technol3, Its funny you should mention that. I had a similar tool that I used for job change decisions. I sent that to her last night. It's a great method of helping you isolate the real decision.

    bjscheel, I found the list of wants very amusing. I'd like to have a chick fila a also!


    I'll try to chill out on her making a decision. We just did an open house at one of the school. I was thinking about doing another tour of the other school soon in order to provide a direct comparison. The accepted student day for that school isn't' until March.

    The main difference in the two schools is size. One is larger and has more options. The other is smaller with limited option. She would do better in the smaller environment but needs the more options.

    Once her twin finds out about schools and starts making plans it will encourage her to start making some decisions. So there is always that fallback. :-)

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  • TS0104TS0104 962 replies27 threads Member
    edited November 19
    I also have a guy who didn't have a strong idea (besides his reach which he didn't get in), and also didn't have a strong idea of his major. I do feel like extra time really helped. Some kids just need more mulling time, maybe? It was actually really nice, once some EA decisions were in, to chill out a bit on the college search and put it on the back burner for a while. I think he didn't feel comfortable even "ranking" until he had all options on the table, for whatever reason, personality I guess. I think he also felt good about making this big decision on his own timeline. He did do accepted students visits to his final two in spring, and decided at the end of the second one.

    It does sound as if housing is quite tricky at the one you mentioned, so yes, maybe, bite the bullet and put in the nonrefundable deposit. But for most schools, having a later decision/housing deposit isn't really that big of a deal.

    I will caution that if your D has spring break plans (ours took his HS trip out of country), that ate into accepted visit weekend time, for sure. You could probably take a look at accepted students visit dates and map it out now...if that makes YOU feel better!

    Oh and as for his major, it just didn't play a part in the decision. He *thinks* he might be interested in Psychology, and is starting that path, but we focused our search and decision more on a school that was a great fit for him, and where he could explore, not necessarily a specific program that was a great fit for him, since he didn't have strong enough feelings about major/career path.
    edited November 19
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  • thumper1thumper1 75532 replies3310 threads Senior Member
    edited November 19
    So....have these schools accepted 3000 kids EA....who are all going to put down housing deposits? I know you can’t answer about the families putting down deposits...but what about admissions?

    My guess is 3000 kids haven’t even been admitted, but if that one school worries you, do the housing deposit. Just make sure it’s not an admissions deposit.
    One of the schools admits 7,000 freshman but only has space for 3,000 in the dorms.

    Only students who enroll will need housing. How many will be IN the freshman class? If over 3000, where do the others live? Commuters? Off campus private dorms or apartments?

    Also, in my limited experience, housing deposits are refundable...so make sure that this one is not.
    edited November 19
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5715 replies1 threads Senior Member
    We went through something similar, except that our daughters are three years apart, so the two decisions occurred three years apart.

    The first was easy. She had a "dream school" for which admission was certain, but affordability was not. She got a good merit scholarship which made it affordable, and the decision was essentially made.

    The second was hard. She got accepted everywhere she applied, with almost no idea which one she preferred. She ruled out two quickly and easily, leaving three to choose between. All were academically good, a good fit, and affordable. We visited all three again (one plane flight required for two of them, which fortunately were not too far apart from each other). We talked about it. She wrote down pluses and minuses for each. She spent some time thinking. I am pretty sure that she went back and forth several times between the one which was closest and the one which was the best fit academically, but she did not tell us which way she was leaning. In the end she picked the one with the best academic fit. She loves it there and is doing great. We do not mind the trips back and forth, which do not happen all that often. I think that she send in her housing deposit either in late March or early April, which in her case was early enough to get her preference.

    Fortunately you and your child have some time to make a decision. You might want to plan to do some visits between now and the February break (visiting in a major snow storm is great fun).

    It would not surprise me if you have some acceptances still to come. These might or might not make your decision easier.

    If all are affordable and all are a reasonable fit academically, then I think that it is up to your daughter which one she wants to attend.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5387 replies101 threads Senior Member
    Much as been mentioned as how to decide when it comes to pluses and minuses of a school but don't underestimate the admitted student days and fit. Our S19 had eight acceptances and had to narrow it down to three or four to revisit. (His acceptances all came in March so very little time to decide.) He made a pros and cons list for all eight. A couple dropped off right away for various reasons. He was able to choose four to revisit.

    Went to one. Had a good time. Liked the kids well enough. Really liked the classes. Wasn't completely sold on the location. Went to the second one and didn't want to leave. Stayed an extra day with a second group of kids he met the first day who invited him to stay longer. My husband had to add another night to his hotel stay because S19 was feeling so good and wanted to stay. At the end of those three days, he called me at home and said he was cancelling the other two trips. I wasn't thrilled as I thought those other schools offered him just as much as this one did and he had two more weeks to decide but he was sure. He was done looking.

    On paper, his last four schools were crazy similar. All LACs in the top 15 nationally. Had different locations and vibes (and costs as one of these finalists gave him a good amount of merit) but visiting is what sealed the deal. So, you can analyze all you want ahead of time but sometimes the visit shows the answer clearly.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2472 replies47 threads Senior Member
    Perhaps your daughter is an easy-going kind of person who could carve a happy niche for herself at any of those three places? If that is the case, she's lucky and will surely do well at any of them.

    With three decisions still to come, I would hold off forcing the decision for now.
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  • mackinawmackinaw 3040 replies54 threads Senior Member
    The one thing that I would do in this situation is what my son did: MAKE VISITS. He visited the top few colleges that admitted him. That made for an easy decision. Based on visits on "admitted students day," he ruled out Williams and ruled in Chicago. He didn't need to visit in-state publics that had admitted him (and which he knew well in any case from summer debate camps). He never visited one of the other colleges he was admitted to (Carleton) but he would have visited it had he not decided on Chicago.

    My daughter made no post-acceptance visits. RISD had been her first choice, and that's where she attended college.
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  • kpopmomrunnerkpopmomrunner 27 replies5 threads Junior Member
    My freshman daughter went through that early this year.She applied to all in-state schools both public and private universities a total of 8 schools and 1 local cc as backup. She's one of those kids that excels in academics, sports, music(orchestra, theater, church violinist), tutors, volunteer to nursing homes and a social butterfly. She's very strong in math and science. When I asked her what she wants to take and where to go, I was dumb-founded to hear her say I do not know. I think the stress of the college applications is getting to her plus there's the fear of unknown and uncertainty on her part about college affordability etc. Out of the 8 schools not incl the cc, we only visited 3, two of which are schools with student populations of about 13,000 and one LAC with under 3,000 undergrad. She did not like the big schools (not sure if its the schools itself or some other reason) so that eliminated pretty much all the schools she applied to except the LAC. When we did the campus tour to this LAC she said to me, mom, I can see myself going here. I have a good feeling about the school. Although she was leaning towards this school we still have to lay out all the FAs from all 7 schools she got accepted to and weighed in what is our best option for her financially, academically and in a way what will give her the best networking and ROI post grad. She waited until May 1 to decide like 9 pm decide to put a deposit!!! I think, she reached out to one of her teachers and discussed her uncertainty and also spoke to her closest friends. We also told her that we will support her no matter where she decides to go. She's happily enjoying her first semester at Colgate U and she's thinking of majoring in CS with a double minor in Econ and Chinese.

    I wish you and your daughters good luck! I hope everything works out for your girls.
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  • compmomcompmom 10931 replies78 threads Senior Member
    We preferred visiting when it was NOT an admitted student day, because schools put on such a show. Once accepted, my kids attended a class and did another tour. One did overnights. They also hung out in the cafeteria, cafes, book store and on the green (if there was one) to get the vibe- away from the marketing. Look at books (in the bookstore)for classes she might want to take. Looking at curriculum and gen eds is also a good idea.

    In the end, gut feelings and "vibe" are as important as anything else.
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3354 replies12 threads Senior Member
    Our youngest had a bunch of acceptances and went to accepted student days at his top 3 : Rice, Vandy, and Michigan. He liked Vandy the best (all were good) , but it was the most expensive and a lowest ranked for engineering, so we overrode his decision. He went to Michigan (highest ranked and lowest cost) . He's a senior now and thanked us, as he realized that it was the best choice and had a great college experience.

    Now that he is considering grad schools (funded Ph.D. programs) we just listen and help him talk out his decisions. We don't know the schools, but we know him, so mostly it is helping him decide what interests him the most.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9524 replies511 threads Senior Member
    Has anyone else mentioned that you cannot double deposit? It’s unethical and also not allowed. She doesn’t get to “hold” spaces at multiple colleges.

    You are rushing for no reason. Give her some time to figure it out. And do not double deposit. If one college finds out you’ve done so, they will rescind her acceptance. It’s time for her to make adult decisions, and it’s time for you to let her.
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