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5 Things to Know Ahead of the May 1st Deadline

We are days away from the May 1st enrollment deadline when high school seniors formally commit and submit deposits at the college where they plan to enroll. One thing is clear: Colleges want students to know what their campus and educational offerings will look like for the fall.

Over the last month, many colleges announced that they would be welcoming back students in a near-normal environment with mostly in-person classes. The timing of these announcements is deliberate as colleges hope for higher yield rates among students making final enrollment decisions to match the larger applicant pools many experienced this year. Messaging is used to influence the college admissions process and outcomes, yet students need to block out the noise and make thoughtful decisions that are right for them.

Here are some tips for students still weighing their options:

1. Have faith in attending college in-person this fall. 

Even if a college hasn't made an announcement about opening up campus in the fall to a full or near-full capacity, they probably have plans to do so. With vaccines now readily available, some colleges are requiring that all students are vaccinated before arriving on campus this fall. Colleges need to get back to some semblance of normalcy in order to be able stay afloat, financially speaking.

2. Immerse yourself in each of your final choices.

Try to narrow down your choices to two or three colleges. Invest in learning as much as you can about all of them. But if you keep going back to one college, it's usually a sign that is where your heart is.

3. Pay attention to how much the college wants you.

The colleges that personalize their communication post-decision and spend time being available for questions as you make your final decision tend to be the type of environments that will always value you and your presence.

4. Trust your gut. 

I am observing so many students who are enamored by a college because of its name, reputation, and rankings. Have the confidence to turn a college down for exactly that reason. A college's name, reputation, or rankings is so 2019.

5. Be ready to pivot. 

Some colleges will need to start using their waitlists in the coming days and weeks. If you have accepted a spot on a waitlist and shown demonstrated interest towards that college since the decision, you could end up getting offered a spot. And just like that, your gut could tell you to do something else.

Related Reading: Making Sense of Admissions Decisions

Hope is in the air. While our lives will never be the same again, going to college will feel pretty close to what it once was starting this fall. With this newfound appreciation about yourself and the world around you that the college admissions process and a pandemic forces us to do, make sure you end up at a college that will allow you to heal, engage again, and be an even more evolved person moving forward. Fit is everything in 2021 and beyond.