Traditionally, May 1 is observed as May Day in some nations, as Lei Day in Hawaii, and for many college-bound high school seniors in the United States, this is the date that they make their college decision.
- First: Celebrate. If you have been accepted to schools, this is fantastic news. Appreciate your efforts as a student (and as a student’s family) to have come to this point in the process. All of the deadlines, activities, and work have led to the ability to make this big life decision.
- Assess your decision. Many students already have committed to a school by May 1, but if you’re still wavering or uncertain, why not go old school with your decision process? Create a pros and cons list with the usual things like size, location, and majors, but get more specific now. Consider this: Did you tour the school and like the dorms? Was the dining hall food something you can live on for the next 4 years? Are there clubs, sports, and activities you want to get involved in? Will you be close or far from home? Does your school have huge sports teams you’ll want to cheer for (like fall football, March Madness basketball, or Spring softball)?
- Start Adulting. There is an entertaining thread of What My College Kid Didn’t Know in which parents detail their students’ deficiencies in laundry skills, basic medical care, and kitchen talents. That said, don’t be one of those college kids. If you don’t already do loads of your own laundry, now is the time to learn that you use bleach on your whites, and you wash your colored clothes in cold water. If you have only a couple of kitchen skills under your belt, why not master some clever dorm room cuisine/healthy snacks, and also learn one or two solid recipes to whip up when you and your future roommates rent a VRBO on spring break.
- Finish Strong. Senioritis is real, especially when the weather starts getting warmer, when May gets super busy, and when graduation celebrations are looming. Students often slack. But now is the time to push through with grit and focus. Take time to study for your AP and final exams. Make sure you are turning in well done assignments at the end of the school year. Be proud of your final months as a senior.
- Check your Calendar. Hopefully, you have created a thoughtful summer schedule (see our blog on this) with vacations, education, and work included. And now that you’re deciding on a college for the fall, consider other things that will come into play for your personal schedule. Your school may host an Orientation on campus, which could have you at school either before the first day, or at some other point in the summer. Many schools also have a Parents Weekend filled with events for families; Planning for this now is helpful for students and parents alike. If you’re at a big football school—will you want to attend games? Get these on your calendar. There could even be a road trip in your future. Looking at holiday calendars can be helpful as well; Some schools may allow a whole week off for a holiday like Thanksgiving, whereas others might only grant a few days. Winter breaks can vary in length as well. These are all things that could also affect your final decision!
As you move ahead and make a commitment, find peace and satisfaction in the fact that all schools will have pros and cons. You will choose a place that is a good fit for you, and many of the moves you make there will help guide you on your path to your next goal.