Jill Haley: I’m accepted — now what? | TheUnion.com

Jill Haley: I’m accepted — now what?

Jill Haley
Columnist

Photo for The Union John Hart

High school seniors have received their acceptances and rejections from colleges for next year.

Some also ended up on the dreaded wait list, putting them in a state of limbo. While there were many happy students, there were also disappointments.

Record-breaking applications were submitted again this year. Admission's acceptances at some of the most highly ranked colleges reached an all time low.

Stanford University in Palo Alto reported a 4.67 acceptance rate, the lowest in history.

This ridiculous rate even sparked a satirical column in the NY Times, which reported the Stanford had decided to accept no students in the upcoming year. So preposterous is selectivity these days, a lot of people thought it was true.

Getting a rejection notice from your top school can be devastating. But there is more than one college that will be a good fit.

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I have reported frequently in this column about the fallacy of rankings and the possible advantages of attending lesser-known colleges with higher acceptance rates.

This is also a good time to remind students, and parents, that where you get accepted to college has no reflection on who you are, or how hard you worked. And in most cases, where you attend college has no correlation to success in later life. It is what you make happen during college that matters.

Where to attend, once accepted, is a big decision and one that needs careful consideration of a student's priorities. Those priorities can be academic, social, size, extra curricular activities and financial considerations.

It is important, when talking with students about where they are attending college next year, to know that there are many factors in their decision. Being supportive is important, because their choice could depend on finances or other personal reasons, and not how highly ranked or selective the college is.

Financial considerations can have a large impact on a student's future, especially if they are taking out loans. It is an important conversation that families need to have about how much debt the student is willing to go into to be able to attend college.

It is wise to look at the graduation rates at each school. If it takes a student five or six years to graduate, the cost of that school rises greatly.

Social factors should play a role in the decision. Will the student have support at the college? A friend or relative nearby to be provide a helping hand if needed?

Once accepted, students must notify the college by May 1 that they will be attending.

There may be earlier dates for financial aid and housing, necessitating that students and parents pay careful attention to all deadlines.

Jill Haley is a retired high school counselor, who now works as an independent college counselor. She can be reached at http://www.getyouintocollege.com or jillncca@gmail.com.