Acceptance. Confirmation. Enrollment deposit. What do all these words have in common? They are all used interchangeably among colleges and universities once a student decides to attend. At UW-Green Bay, we use the word “committed” – without requiring an enrollment deposit to secure a spot. This language allows us to be on the same page with a student about their plan to attend UW-Green Bay. Why does committing matter? It ensures students receive timely information about their next steps.
The college journey, from researching different colleges to applying and choosing one, can feel overwhelming for students – even those who have been preparing and planning for college for months or years. Ultimately, every student is in a different place when it comes to what information they need to feel confident in their decision.
For juniors, the spring semester is a great time to start visiting colleges. College visits help students begin to narrow down what they are looking for in their post-secondary education. Starting this as juniors gives them a jump-start on making their college decisions. Touring colleges early can help students prepare for the upcoming application process, understand costs and identify academic areas of interest and more.
Admissions counselors are here to answer any questions your students may have – no question is too small! Admissions counselors are equipped to help students think about all the things that are important when making a college decision. They are not here to convince students to attend a certain college; rather, their job is to provide students with relevant information so the student can make the best decision for their future.
We know affordability is often one of, if not the most, influential factor in a student’s college decision. Many students do not receive their financial aid and/or scholarship offers from schools until early spring; however, they may feel pressured to make their decision prior to having this important information. We want students to know it is okay for them to wait until they have a full picture of their financial situation prior to committing to a specific college. May 1st is National College Decision Day for a reason – it is okay to wait until then to commit! If a student or parent/guardian has any questions about financial aid or affordability planning, we strongly suggest reaching out to the Financial Aid office at the college they plan on attending.
There is no right or wrong time to commit to a college. The reality is that some students are prepared to make their decision in the fall of their senior year while others may wait until the spring. We encourage students to wait until they have all the information they need from their schools of interest to make the commitment decision that is best for them.
What is the best way to ensure a student has confirmed their plans to attend a college in the fall? Talk to their admissions counselor! As mentioned, UW-Green Bay uses a commitment status which is updated directly by the student or by their admissions counselor. Another tip for students – let other schools know you are not attending. From a communication perspective, this can reduce the amount of information students receive that is not pertinent to their decision. Students will continue to receive information from all schools that they applied to or showed interest in, so it is important that students let colleges know they are not planning to attend. We get it, students have lots of great options!
Going back to the beginning of this blog post where we mentioned students may feel overwhelmed, it is also possible that students may feel nervous about making the “wrong” decision. Good news, there is no such thing! If a student decides they aren’t happy or don’t have the support they need at their selected college, there are options for them to transfer to a different college. Now feels like an appropriate time to mention that UW-Green Bay is one of the most transfer-friendly schools with a very generous credit transfer program.