May Day—day of celebration, new life, change of season. Mayday—distress signal.
May 1 is an important day in the life of a high school senior who is planning to head off to college. May Day or mayday?
The universal deadline for students to commit to a college is May 1 of their senior year. A college or university may not ask you to commit prior to this date, but you must make your decision by this date. If you don’t, the school will assume you are not attending, and you may lose your place in the class and/or scholarship offers.
Many students and families started on this college planning journey years ago. A lot of time and hard work has led to this day. For many students, they know where they are headed and decided months ago. However, there are just as many who are in the midst of making a big decision in these coming weeks leading up to May 1.
Here are a few tips if you are still trying to decide:
1. Take the time to make a list of pros/cons. Old school.
2. Do it by yourself and for yourself. Approach this decision from your heart. Don’t let what others may think about your choice influence you at this point. Maybe the Notre Dame bumper sticker would be cool, but your heart is leading you to a school that is not quite as well known. You know where you belong.
3. Be realistic about money. Hopefully, your family had the money talk a long time ago. Really think about finances and debt. Every family is different, and this is a very personal issue. Sometimes choices must be made because of money.
4. Don’t follow your girlfriend or boyfriend. Just don’t.
5. Remember—you can also come home. If your choice is between the school down the street or the one hundreds of miles away—consider taking a chance and facing the fears you may have about going somewhere new. If you go and it doesn’t work out, you can come home. If you don’t, you’ll never know. Alert: stay a full year. DO NOT COME HOME AFTER ONE SEMESTER.
6. Get back on campus if possible. Admitted student days, overnight visits, or a quick walk around the campus again can help clarify things.
7. Once you decide. Own it. Celebrate it. Buy the swag. That bumper sticker looks good on your Mom’s old Camry!!!
Commercial, Educational, and Parental Warnings: Look out Target!! There’s a bunch of students and families getting ready to buy some extra-long sheets, mini-fridges, laundry baskets, and shower shoes. They’re stressed. Make sure you have the check-outs fully staffed. Seriously. Look out teachers!!! You don’t know senioritis until you’ve lived through the month of May with a classroom full of seniors. Keep reminding yourself you get the summers off. Look out parents!!! Your senior is a child trapped in an adult’s body—and vice-versa. This becomes more obvious the closer you get to move-in day. Mayday.