Regret College Choice

My DD is starting to regret her college decision. I understand that she will most likely need to live with her decision so I am not looking for advice in that vein. I am hoping it’s just the typical cold feet but I’m curious about the question below.

What I am wondering is if anyone has reached out to a college that initially accepted them and asked to enroll even though the May 1 deadline has passed. If so, what steps did you take, even if you weren’t successful? TIA

I have not, but buyer’s remorse is actually quite common. She’s starting to get familiar and to have deeper knowledge about a single school now. There’s no way to know that she won’t ultimately get cold feet even if she changes, because she’ll go through the same process with the next school. She picked School #1 for multiple reasons. Have those changed? Why would School #2 be “better?”


That’s kind of the problem. She really did not have good reasons for her pick but she is very stubborn. She struggled with making a decision and she did a 180 and picked school 1, which was not really on her radar, bc she wanted to be done with the decision. Both are top 20 public schools. The one she picked is 6 hours away (OOS), she knows hardly anyone, and she is regretting it. I think she picked it to be different from everyone else around her, she didn’t want to pick the school we thought she should pick (school 2), it was slightly higher ranked, and her Dad went there.

School 2 is 2 hours away (instate). She “says” she would be happy with school 1 if it were 2 hours away.

If she sounds like an emotional 18 year old - she is…in spades…

Her Dad and I always thought school 2 was a better fit. She isn’t saying she wants to definitely switch but she is thinking she might have made the wrong decision.

If she really wants to try to switch I am trying to determine what the path is as far as who specifically to contact. I’m doubting this would be a generic email to admissions. And YES this is a great life lesson for her no matter what happens. I know it is highly unlikely anyway.



You should likely start with your regional AO.

I would be really concerned with housing at this late stage. There is also a good chance that she could be at the end of the class registration line for fall term. Unless this is for financial reasons or a new strong desire for a major not offered at the current school (unlikely at 2 large state schools), I would strongly discourage it.


Unless school 2 is still accepting students for the fall, they will have met their enrollment target at this point and will very likely not be able to admit your D now.
Perhaps she could explore transferring next year? (If school 1 indeed turns out to be a bad fit)


Yes they have met enrollment. They have released their waitlist. I figured her only shot is if they had someone cancel at the last minute. And yes transferring for next Fall is definitely an option.

1 Like

Hopefully this is just a bit of cold feet and she will be happy at the college she will attend.

1 Like

Can she go to community college and then transfer to her instate option or take a gap year?

1 Like

Will school #2 take sophomore transfers? If so, I would encourage her to proceed as a freshman at the school she chose and if she is truly unhappy, she can transfer to school #2 after freshman year. Chances are she will end up being fine at school #1.

I think many kids feel this sentiment at some point - either before they go or after they get there any see friends’ social media at other schools.

As far as your question - it can’t hurt for your daughter to reach out to admissions but if it’s a popular/highly rated school, chances are their enrollment will be full and as others mentioned, there will be obstacles with housing, orientation & class availability.

Thanks everyone! Honestly I wouldn’t even be entertaining the idea if I didn’t think School 2 was a better choice in the first place. She is very on the fence as to whether she is going to reach out or wait and transfer if she still wants to but those are ultimately the two options.

The longer she waits to ask, the more likely it is that transferring will be her only option, and the more likely it is she’ll be locked out of housing and classes. If she even wants to entertain the possibility, which is very slim, she should call today. Otherwise, she should make peace with at least one year at her first choice.


Eeyore123 made a very important point. Even if School #2 will consider her, at this late stage there is almost certainly no housing available (pretty common for a large state public) and students have already selected their classes, leave her the crumbs all around.

I would encourage her to embrace College #1, or attend community college (and students at the CCs have already picked their classes, leaving less selection there as well).


Every year there are posts like this where students are second guessing their decision.

I say to go all in with the school where you’ve committed. Get on the social media pages, connect with the roommate, and start getting excited.

I think some buyers remorse is normal but I think it’s really hard to make meaningful connections if you start school with a transfer mindset.


This is incredibly common. There have already been a number of similar posts and there will be more.

She needs to give her chosen college a chance. I’m not trying to be unhelpful, but I get the feeling that the parents are in favor of her trying to get out of her decision. Let her go. Let her find her feet and experience adulthood. MANY kids go to college a plane ride away, even the ones who are doubting their decisions. Most have a very good experience.

This says a lot. One, she isn’t sure she should try to scuttle her plans. She sounds like she has a simple case of buyer’s remorse. But more concerning is that two, starting college with the mindset that she will transfer is not going to make for a great experience. This mindset stops kids from making friends and engaging in the campus experience because they feel they shouldn’t bother. It’s a way to ensure a bad experience.

Seems your daughter had good reasons for choosing her school. Let her have her own experience and have ownership of her decisions, and resist the urge to rescue her before she needs rescuing.

Like a million other kids, my own kid had a terrible time settling in at college, which was a five hour drive from home. We had to resist the urge the rescue her, too. It was very hard to know she was miserable, receive her tearful phone calls, and hear her say she was at the wrong school, but she stayed. She ended up having an amazing experience and it was the best thing for her.

I fell that you’re taking the chance to seize upon a chink in her armor. Try not to, if you can. She needs to mature in her own space.


We all probably wished that we had made a different decision at some point in our lives. It’s normal, but it’s also unproductive. As in this case, a do-over is almost always highly improbably, if not impossible. Second-guessing is almost never fruitful. Making the best out of her choice is not only the likely best option in the current situation, but also a beneficial lesson for her future.


Only one of my kids went AWAY to college (12 hours vs. 2 and under). We really didn’t see her any less than her siblings (none had a car until junior year), but she is definitely having the best experience getting out of the bubble. We live 45 minutes from our state flagship, she’s been to many parties and overnights there since her schedule in the south is different than colleges in the northeast, and of course knows many students that go there (including a few of her HS best friends). She applied to 20, and it came down to those two.

Ranking differences are meaningless if they’re both top-20. They are for all intents and purposes substitutes as far as education is concerned. Tweak the factors slightly and the ordering would reverse (and USNews tweaks them regularly so they can announce a “new” ranking).

Knowing people in advance doesn’t matter. At a large public with 20K or more students, unless she requests a friend as a roommate she is unlikely to see anyone she knows in her classes/dorm/on-campus even if there were dozens of them. She’ll make new friends from people in her dorm, clubs she joins, and people she gets together to study with in her classes. It will be the same at either school.

Being 6 hours away is perhaps a plus. It’s a new environment and she’ll be immersed in it until Thanksgiving or Xmas break. Out here in CA the state is large enough that plenty of kids go to UC or CSU schools a similar distance away and they end up doing just fine (although some kids may have bumps at first at mentioned earlier in the thread).


I agree and would take it even further. I know three Fortune 500 CEOs and none of them went to a T100 school. I think fit and work ethic far outweigh any rank.


There are many schools kids can be happy at. If she got into 5 she might be happy at all 5 or 3 of 5.

Every year there are posts about kids who got into their dream school looking to transfer out.

Sometimes it’s just a bad roomie or bad prof. Or you might go to your second or third choice and meet your bff.

No one knows until you live it. If she goes in with a great attitude it could all end up fine.

1 Like

She “says” she would be happy with school 1 if it were 2 hours away.

Looks to me that it is the distance that is bothering her. My daughter goes to college which is 6.5 hours away. We visited her several times in the first semester (and even second sem), to just see her and give her support. 6 hours is not too far to drive or take public transport. You can explore Flixbus, Greyhound, Amtrak etc that she also could take.

1 Like