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College-bound Seniors Face May 1 Deadline

Thursday, 16 April 2020 04:00
A young man sitting in a library

Most everyone’s world has turned upside down since mid-March, but the college acceptance process is one thing that hasn’t changed much.

Most colleges are expecting commitments and answers from high school seniors on May 1, as usual, according CAP COM’s Certified College Funding Specialist Kim Donah.

Normally, Ms. Donah and her colleague Ryan Chenot, also a Certified College Funding Specialist, meet with families in person this time of year to review award letters that colleges send to students. With social distancing measures in place, they’ve been meeting by phone with families, close to 30 of them over the last two weeks.

"College is a life-changing experience for students and their families, yet affording the tuition can be a struggle," Ms. Donah said. "Finding ways to help is extremely rewarding."

Admissions counselors, she said, are focused on incoming students and probably not distracted like they would be under normal circumstances. So even while there’s practically no one on college campuses right now, the process of accepting the class of 2024 moves forward according to schedule.

Advice for Students

After months of visiting dozens of colleges, writing essays, taking standardized tests, and filling out applications, students now must choose their path, pick one school, and leave the others behind. Selecting just one college can be a stressful experience.

Ms. Donah suggests narrowing the field so you’re not choosing from among every college that has accepted you. Select your top two or three schools and negotiate the final best financial package with each school. Colleges will work with families, sometimes adding scholarships or grants, to help tip the scales to convince students they really want. Additional financial aid might help you decide which school is best for you.

Students Seem Normal

“Despite everything we see in the news, the students don’t seem to be concerned,” Ms. Donah said about their anticipation of leaving home for college at the end of summer.

One student was weighing a New York City university against others not in the city. "It's a family conversation," Ms. Donah said.

Parents are telling her that they are working hard to keep their teenagers home. They want to go out and visit their friends during their last summer together, but they can't at this time.

Still Time to Call

College Bound is a free service to CAP COM members. If you want to talk with Kim or Ryan about your college options and the award letters from schools, call (518) 458-2195 ext. 5579 to set up an appointment.