This year, hundreds of colleges have extended their deadline to June 1st or even later. This was a fantastic move designed to give students a little more breathing room. It gave students an extra month to try to find out what it might even look like to go to college this fall – would classes be online? Would there be dorms to move into? Would you even have a roommate this year? And some students needed that extra time to get an update on their financial aid now that their family’s finances look totally different. But unfortunately, not every college agreed to this extended deadline. So on top of what was already a confusing situation, students had to try to figure out whether or not their deadlines had changed and for which schools. And for students choosing between two schools with two different deadlines, they still have to make that decision today, with or without the information they need.
And my students are coming to me with questions I’ve never had to guide kids through. Like, should I commit to two different schools (also known as double-depositing)? Normally, my answer would be an emphatic no. It’s like telling two different people you’ll go to prom with them. It’s not cool. But this year, my answer is, it depends. This year, it’s like getting asked to the prom by someone who may or may not have a safe limo for you to ride in – they’re not sure yet, but they’ll let you know in a few months. Or getting asked to the prom by someone who might make you pay for a really expensive corsage to match their outfit – they’re not sure yet, but they’ll let you know in a few months. How can students make thoughtful decisions when they don’t have all the information?
This situation makes me wish I had a lot more power than I do. It makes me wish I could convince every college to do the right thing and extend their decision deadline. It makes me wish I had psychic powers, so I could look ahead three months and see where we’ll all be (I really hope I’m eating enchiladas somewhere…). But I don’t – I’m just as in the dark as my students. So this year, like in other years, students need to be mindful of May 1st, and make a commitment if their top choice college is still abiding by the original deadline. But if you have the chance to make this decision more slowly, you should feel empowered to take that time and make the choice that is best for you – for this fall and four years from now.