Life after high school: Now, it’s decision time |

Life after high school: Now, it’s decision time

If you applied to college or university in the fall, you should have all of your admission decisions by now.

Perhaps you had decisions relayed by mail, email or your application portal. No matter what, if you have ONE acceptance, you did it! Congratulations on your hard work. You have a place to be in the fall.

But, it’s not over yet. The results of the college application process can be as confusing as some of the applications. Sometimes it’s not as simple as a yes or no, but a waitlist.

Let’s review the possibilities for this year and what steps you need to take to secure that spot at your college or university of choice for Fall 2016.

“The results of the college application process can be as confusing as some of the applications.”


It is as simple as it sounds. Or is it? If you have more than one YES, you might be agonizing over which school to attend. Now, you have choices to make.

Remember, you have until May 1 to decide and submit your enrollment deposit at ONE school. You can’t attend more than one school, so do not deposit at more than one.

But, do not feel rushed. Take your time. Go on the “Admitted Student Day” program. If you can’t attend that, do some research or go visit campus on your own.

Contact your admissions rep, ask more questions about their programs and ask to speak to a current student. Get all of your facts together and try to take the emotion out of the decision.

What school is going to offer you the most opportunities? If financial aid is a factor, gather all of your offers and use that to help make your decision.


This is as simple as it sounds. Unfortunately, you were not what the college was looking for in this particular admission cycle.

Try not to take it personally. You just weren’t a match. If you feel sad, that’s OK. But don’t wallow. Figure out a way to move on and fall in love with one of your other options.

If you truly think this is the BEST option for you, consider community college and once you have at least a year of college curriculum under your belt, apply again as a transfer student, if they take transfers.


A waitlist is a parking spot for the university. They like you as an academic applicant, but for some reason, you just didn’t make the final cut.

Colleges will use this waitlist (if they even have one) to fulfill their institutional goals, once they know who has accepted their spot on May 1.

Many times you have to affirm to the college you want to be on their waitlist, send in a meaningful update on your activities and academics that is new information and then, just wait.

Many waitlists won’t be cleared (if at all) until late May or even into the early summer. Therefore, if you have an option that you like, make a deposit at that school.

Then, if you get off the waitlist and you truly want to attend, go for it (you will lose your enrollment deposit at the one school you accepted on May 1).

Be sure to follow the instructions carefully on the waitlist. If you decide that that waitlist is not for you and you want to just let it go, then so be it. Again, take the emotion out of this decision and make one based on facts.

Talk to your parents and other trusted adults if you need guidance. Take some time to revel in the fact that your admission process is almost over and that in a few short months, you might be leaving home for a new adventure.

If you need help making your decision, talk to your school counselor, your parents and other adults you trust. Be prepared to make your decision and deposit on May 1. Once this is done, go out and celebrate!

Katy Watts is the college counselor at Tahoe Expedition Academy. She holds a Masters in Counseling with a Pupil Personnel Services Credential and is entering her 14th year as a school counselor. She may be reached for comment at

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