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--- ellen (4/30/2013)
Question: My daughter was accepted to two colleges that she really likes. The colleges have told us that we must submit our deposit by May 1. Since we may not be completely sure by then, can we just submit two deposits so that we have more time to make a decision?

Answer: I know that it can be often times difficult to make the all important decision about where your child will go to college, but you should only submit a deposit and an Intent to Register to one university. The Intent to Register is a contract that your daughter (and you) are signing with one college that she will attend in the Fall. She obviously cannot promise two colleges that she will attend. The May 1st deadline allows students ample time to research their college thoroughly. Chances are that a couple of additional weeks will not make the decision making process any easier.

Visit (or revisit) both campuses again if you can.
If you have not already done so, try to visit the two colleges that you are considering. If you are not able to make a trip, have your daughter talk to current students. If she does not know anyone at the two schools, call the admissions offices and ask to speak to students. They may also be able to connect you to young alumni that are local to you.

Make sure you’re set with financial aid.
If you are waiting on financial aid award letters to make the decision, do not hesitate to contact the financial aid offices. Confirm that your aid applications are complete. If they are waiting on additional documentation, make sure to get the papers to them immediately. If you are trying to appeal for more aid, evaluate the two colleges on all other factors so that once you get revised financial aid information the choice is clear. Do not hesitate to notify the admissions offices that you are deciding between two schools and that finances might be the deciding factor. They are working overtime right now to ensure that potential students have the most accurate information, but with the clock ticking it does not hurt to give them a call.

Dig deeper into your indecision and figure out fit.
You and your daughter need to really ask yourselves why this decision is so difficult. Are you confused about academic programs? Is distance playing a major role? Is brand driving your decision? Make a list of pros and cons and see which college comes out on top. Think long term about what your daughter wants to do after college. If she is contemplating some sort of graduate program, does either college have a greater success rate. Try to learn about the cultures of the two schools to see where your daughter might be a better fit. Are there specific opportunities, academic or extracurricular, that are present at one school and not the other?

The reality is that while colleges may be similar, no two colleges are exactly alike. When you dissect the different offerings, one should begin to feel like the better place for her. College reviews by students can give you some insight into pinning down fit.

Accepting an offer after getting off an admissions waitlist?
The only situation in which you would eventually withdraw an Intent to Register would be if your daughter were eventually accepted off a waitlist. In this scenario, she would need to accept just one offer by May 1st. When she was given an acceptance from the waitlist, she would contact the school where she submitted her deposit and notify it that she needs to withdraw her intent. You will most likely lose the deposit at that school.

I know that it can be tough to make this decision, but it is imperative that you spend the next several days doing the proper research and talking to those that can help you to make this all important choice. Once you and your daughter do submit your deposit, everyone in the family will be so much more relaxed and you can now focus on enjoying the last few months of her high school career. Good Luck.

By Purvi S. Mody For

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