2018 – Five Decision Day Tips For College Families

Just mention the words “college admissions,” and the anxiety level for some future college parent households rises as quickly as the spring pollen count outside their front doors.Part of that anxiety, no doubt, is being driven by a recent spate of high-profile newspaper articles, followed inevitably by their cribbing on television or radio news programs, all of which are collectively making the point that college admission is harder than ever.

May 1st – College Decision Day.  Congratulations – you are officially a college parent.

For many college families, the last few months have been difficult.  There are many questions, many late night discussions and last minute campus visits, but May 1st is the deadline for a decision.

There are five Decision Day tips we suggest to college parents and their students:
  1. Fall in Love!  Make a commitment.  Don’t second guess your school choice.   Find reasons to fall in love with your school choice.  Buy shirts and hats for your chosen school. Parents can help their students feel confident in their decision.
  2. Don’t fall in love with a school because of rankings or majors. It is very common for college rankings to change and even more common for students to change majors. As a result, avoid falling in love with a school because it may be ranked high or the major is only available at one school.  Please note, both rankings and majors should be largely ignored when evaluating the what-if scenario involving waitlists.
  3. Forget the Waitlist Limbo – being in limbo isn’t good for college-bound students or families.  So don’t keep thinking of the school that may admit you.  Ignore that school until they make a decision.  Only consider and only think about that school when they tell you that your student has been admitted.  Though remaining hopeful for being admitted to a school that has you on the waitlist can be useful, in our experience it is often detrimental to the well being of your student and their ability to plan for their success at the school that has admitted your student.
  4. Revisit the Big Question – Why College?  Why you are investing in college is more important than where you choose to enroll.  As a result, during the next months, we encourage college parents to revisit the conversation why is college important to your student and family.  What are the experiences that will make college a success?  For many college families we support, we know that the college that they choose helps shape a trajectory for their life – via the major they choose or the classmates they befriend.
  5. Admissions May Be Contingent – remember admissions are contingent upon your students conduct – you must follow the process – pay your deposit, complete academic requirements and high school and in many cases schools expected the continued good judgment of a student to not participate in illegal activities or be found guilty of misconduct that is unbecoming of their college students.


So Congratulations!   Enjoy today and now enjoy the final few weeks of high school.  These weeks are emotional.  They are important milestones for everyone – for parents, siblings and most of all your students.  Encourage your student to embrace this moment with gratitude – with thanks for the many teachers, counselors, coaches and family members who have supported them thru high school graduation and now the important next step of college.

Lastly – stay in touch with College Parents of America.  Our tips, insights, and humor will make college even more successful.  In addition, we know your walk and have empathy for the journey you have begun.