That long college application process is over. Your student finished the applications, the essays, the SAT months ago. You and your student have survived the weeks or months of waiting. The acceptances have come in and your student has finally, agonizingly, made a decision. She knows where she will be going to college. You’ve even submitted the deposit. You and your student are ready for a breather.
There’s one more task which your student needs to do. She needs to let the other colleges which accepted her know that she won’t be attending. This isn’t a big job, but it sometimes feels like an awkward job. It’s not easy to say, “No thank you” to a college after you’ve fought to get in. It feels as though you are rejecting the college. But this is an important part of the college admission process.
Once your student has made the final decision and notified his college of choice, remind him to let the others know that he won’t be attending. Students should notify the college in writing. Some colleges even include a postcard in their admissions packet. If there isn’t an easy form, a simple note, letter, or e-mail is fine.
Why does the college want to know where your student will actually be attending school?
Colleges may ask your student where he has finally decided to go. This is important information to the college, because it helps them understand their competition. If many students who choose not to attend College A end up going to College B, then College B must be offering something that attracts the students who also consider College A. College A will want to investigate that and think about whether they can make some changes to attract more students. It is how many colleges continue to improve.
It is important that your student not feel awkward about answering the question about where she has chosen to go. The more information that she can share with the college, the more that they will appreciate it.
Of course, one of the obvious reasons why your student needs to let a college know he will not be attending is so that they can give that space away to another student who may be hoping to get in. There may be students who have been waitlisted and the college may now be able to admit them.
If your student has developed a good relationship with a particular admissions officer, it might be a nice gesture to send that person a note. The personal thank-you is always appreciated.
The college admissions process is stressful and long. Once that final decision is made, your student can truly relax and become excited about the years to come. Remind him to complete one last task before he moves on.