Wednesday, April 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

College corner: May 1 mash-up — Time for high school seniors to decide about college

For many high school seniors, that life-changing deadline of May 1 is approaching too quickly. This is the day when you need to commit to one and only one college. Sounds fun, right? For some. But for others it can be stressful, confusing and a bit of a let down. In this column, I will explain the various possibilities that students face come May 1 and what should be done about it. My aim is to get you through this deadline and on your way to enjoying what is on the other side.

Rocksteady
Many of you have applied and been accepted to several colleges. Congratulations! Now you can review the financial aid offers (each school’s will be different) and choose the place where you will be happiest in terms of academic, social and emotional “fit”. Hopefully, you have researched and visited these schools and are prepared for this decision.

Sign your Statement of Intent to Register (or Enroll) and pay the deposit. Voila! You are ready to buy the sweatshirt. Two things to keep in mind, though:
1. Please let the other colleges you have chosen not to attend know about your decision as soon as possible. Other students are eager to take those spots.
2. Remember that your acceptance is contingent upon performance. If you change your schedule or get a grade lower than a C, notify the school immediately to see what is required.

A slight deviation from this riff is that students may be accepted, but not until the spring semester or quarter. This is becoming more common according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Students in this situation need to consider whether the downside of getting off-track from their peers is worth getting into their school of choice. Reach out to the school and other students in this situation to learn more about the pros and cons of whether this is right for you.

The waitlist blues
You may have ended up on a waitlist. Roughly one third of colleges maintain waitlists. A majority of these are the highly selective schools since they are competing for students who have many college options. The use of waitlists has grown at the UCs in large part due to the mismatch between the increasing number of applicants and the limited funding for new seats. UC Berkeley and UC Merced are the only campuses without a waitlist policy.

What exactly does being on the waitlist mean? It means that your application was reviewed and rather than being admitted or denied, you have been put on hold. Other applicants were selected over you and you are now in a pool that acts as a safety net for the college. You fill in the gaps if they do not fill their spaces. Is there anything you can do to get off the waitlist? Well, for starters, keep up your academic performance. Then, show your interest by writing to the admissions office about how much you want to attend their school and why it is a good fit. In addition, learn as much as possible about the college’s waitlist practices.

Of course, the main issue regarding waitlists is what the chances are of actually getting admitted from the waitlist. This depends on a variety of factors that are out of your control such as the competitiveness of the applicant pool. It is next to impossible to predict.

If you remain on the waitlist as May 1 approaches, please remember that you still need to commit to attend a college and make a deposit! After May 1, colleges will begin to notify students from the waitlist when a spot becomes available for them. Be ready to act quickly since colleges may require a decision within 24 to 48 hours.

Indie folk
Another growing college admissions trend is the number of American high school graduates who decide to do a “gap year’ before going to college. In other countries (Britain and Australia) gap years are more common. What is a gap year and why consider it? A gap year is when students take a break from the traditional education path to travel, volunteer, study, intern or work. Students often choose this path in order to broaden their perspective, gain self knowledge and/or make money. There are many places online to research and plan gap years. As a starting point, check out www.americangap.org to find accredited gap year programs.

For students on this path, I recommend going through the customary application process, getting accepted and then deferring acceptance for a year. Otherwise it is easy for a gap year to turn into gap years. Most colleges will accept deferral, but not all. Each school is different so check their websites for more information. Here’s an example of how deferral typically works:
1. Student signs Intent to Register by May 1.
2. Before July 1, write a letter requesting a deferral for a year.
3. As long as the college does not rule out deferrals and feels the student has made a legitimate case, deferral will usually be granted.

Alternative
Other students may not have a college they want to attend or were accepted to by May 1. In such situations, the California Community Colleges offer a great alternative — either as a way to transfer to a four-year college or to earn an associates degree. Apply online at http://home.cccapply.org/. The application is simple — there is no transcript, test scores or essay required.

Just be prepared to hit the ground running if transfer is the goal. A very helpful website for planning how course credits from one public California college or university can be applied when transferred to another is http://www.assist.org/.

Another option is to get a job or enroll in a vocational school. A good resource for learning about vocational schools is http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0241-choosing-vocational-school.

Lastly, there is always the option to check the results of the NACAC space availability survey due to be released online May 3 at http://www.nacacnet.org/research/research-data/SpaceSurvey/Pages/SpaceSurveyResults.aspx. These results show which colleges still have space and therefore are still accepting applications for fall 2103.

Facing the music
Well, with this information about what is on the horizon come May 1, I hope you high school seniors find the right path for you. Just remember no matter which road you take, enjoy the ride.

— Jennifer Borenstein is an independent college adviser in Davis and owner of The Right College For You. Her column is published on the last Tuesday of the month. She lives in Davis with her husband and two daughters. Reach her at jenniferborenstein@therightcollegeforyou.org, or visit www.therightcollegeforyou.org.

Jennifer Borenstein

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    UC Davis biodigester hungers for food scraps

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    New mosaic mural reflects Peña family history

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

     
    Penalty decision looms in Winters homicide case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Hay bales burn east of Davis

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Woman killed by train ID’d

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist captive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 2 Comments

    Bible fun featured at Parents’ Night Out

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Davis businesswoman presides over conference

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Birch Lane sells garden plants, veggies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Team Blend hosts fundraiser for Nicaragua project

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

    Davis Arts Center: See ceramics, join the Big Day of Giving

    By Erie Vitiello | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Fire damages Woodland home

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3

    Register to vote by May 19

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sign up for enviro organizations during Earth Week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sunder hosts campaign event for kids

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    UCD to host premiere of autism documentary

    By Cory Golden | From Page: A4

    UFC hears from two local historians

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Fundraiser benefits Oakley campaign

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Fire crews gather for joint training

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Odd Fellows host culinary benefit for nonprofit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    400 bikes go up for bids at UCD auction

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    UCD professor to talk about new book

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Fly Fishers talk to focus on healthy streams, rivers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Train to become a weather spotter

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Learn survival skills at Cache Creek Preserve

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Veterans, internees may receive overdue diplomas

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    UC Davis conference showcases undergraduate research

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Conservation District celebrates its stewardship efforts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Slow Food tour showcases area’s young farmers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Forum

    Even a safe house needs boundaries

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    My votes reflect city values

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    A plea on the Bard’s birthday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    I support Sunder for board

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Will anyone notice?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Davis gets to Grant ace and rolls in DVC crucial

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Walchli is under par in another Devil victory

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Seniors send Blue Devil girls past Broncos in a lacrosse rout

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS thunders back to win an epic DVC volleyball match

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    DHS/Franklin I goes to the Blue Devil softballers

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
     
    Baseball roundup: Rangers rally to beat A’s in the ninth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    Sharks go up 3-0 with OT win

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

     
    .

    Arts

     
    Five Three Oh! featured at April Performers’ Circle

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Celebrate spring at I-House on Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Music, wine flow at Fourth Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Biscuits ‘n Honey will play at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Catharine ‘Kay’ Lathrop

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6