This Saturday, students across the country will be making a big decision: Where will they go to college? National College Decision Day is May 1st, when students formally accept admission at a college and make it official with a deposit. Last year, many schools pushed their decision day back from May 1st to June 1st, but this year most colleges and universities returned to the traditional May 1st date.
The high school Class of 2021 has a big decision to make, but this decision should be less fraught compared to what occurred for last year’s class of graduating seniors, who were looking at a year of mostly remote classes and campus lockdowns while also facing financial uncertainty due to the pandemic. As the COVID vaccine continues to be widely distributed and the economy starts to recover, the picture of the Fall 2021 semester in students’ minds may more closely resemble past semesters – with in-person classes, dorm life and campus activities.
That being said, students applying to colleges this year faced unique obstacles and challenges, like test-optional admissions, virtual campus tours and long waitlists at selective institutions. What should students take into account when making their college decision? As in previous years, students will need to balance what kind of college they want to attend – whether a small liberal arts school, a large state university, or a community college close to home, for example – with how much those institutions are offering in financial aid and asking for in tuition.
Compared to last year, school size and location may be more important, since many schools are hoping to welcome their students back to campus. But financial aid packages and overall cost of tuition cannot be overlooked. Remember that going to college is part experience and part investment; getting a return on your investment in higher education without breaking the bank is an important consideration.
Are you ready for College Decision Day? Let us know where you plan to enroll in the comments below!
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