Monday, March 31, 2014

Looks like we made it!

 In the coming week, the vast majority of college admission decisions for the Class of 2014 will finally be revealed. In fact, most schools released decisions by the end of last week (though you wouldn't know it from Naviance - I'm looking at you 50% of the class who has indicated the decisions are unknown!). So now the tables are turned and students who only weeks ago were crossing their fingers trying to look as admit-able as possible are now being courted by colleges who are now the ones with their fingers crossed.

Every year, I republish this piece about gifts and challenges. I'm not going to copy and paste it again, but I encourage everyone to click on the link to read it.

My biggest piece of advice for the month of April is to do a full comparison of ALL college admission decisions. Too often, I see students get into their 'top choice' and automatically decide to enroll. They do this without comparing the financial aid packages and this can be a mistake with pretty serious consequences. I can't take your top choice away from you. That comes from deep in your gut. But, is your top choice really $15,000 a year better than your other choices? Is it really $60,000 better (because that is 4 x $15,000 and also happens to be more than what your starting salary will probably be)? Taking out loans is serious business. Having parents considering liquidating their 401k or retirement funds is even more serious business (spoiler alert - this is a terrible idea - just ask the WSJ). It might take time to come to terms with enrolling at a school that wasn't your dream school. But, it might take longer to come to terms with the consequences of making this decision without considering all financial and emotional ramifications.

I also want to take a moment to recognize all the great news that students have been getting. It isn't all about paying for college or coping with disappointment. It is also about screaming from the rooftops when you get in and you are pumped about it. :)