By Chris Helvajian
Now that it’s past May 1, it’s time to look back and reflect (or start making frantic waitlist calls if you didn’t quite make your class). In the spirit of the end of the season, I want to share some stories that relate to the three stages of committing to a college – admission, deciding, depositing.
I was in the front office taking calls because tours were small that week. We had just recently released decisions and most of the calls were from concerned parents because their student either didn’t get in, or weren’t awarded the scholarship they thought they were going to get. The most interesting call that day went like this…
Tour Guide: “Hello, Office of Admission, this is a student speaking, how may I help you?”
Parent: “Hi. I just wanted to let you know that we received my son’s financial aid award.”
Tour Guide: “That’s great, did you have any questions?”
Parent: “I just wanted to say that we were awarded the perfect amount of aid.”
Tour Guide: “Really? That’s great! I’ve never had anyone call and say that before.”
Parent: “Yea…no, not really. Can I talk to your financial aid director? We were expecting a bit more.”
Tour Guide: “Oh. Sure, I’ll transfer you through.”
Our campus is close to a number of other colleges that are somewhat similar to us in terms of size and programs. The funny thing for me is that I’m a mid-semester transfer student from one of those other institutions. I’d done tours for them when I was on campus there in the fall, and then picked up tours for my new school in the spring. That school year, it wasn’t uncommon for me to meet families on my tour in the fall at my prior institution, only to see them again in the spring when they were visiting my current campus! I actually had a family tell me that it was helpful for them because they got an “apples to apples” perspective because they’d had me as their tour guide for both tours. I also had a student who felt creeped out because she thought I was following her around. Too weird!
I get that choosing what school you go to is a big decision. For some students it can take a lot of time and effort to find the school that’s the right fit for them. After Regular Decision students were notified, I had a lot of them visit campus in the spring and join tours especially for admitted students. I would typically ask if students had deposited yet so I could wish them congratulations and welcome them to the fall class.
One tour I went around asking and one of the students told me that she’d deposited. I was excited for her, but she cut me off and said, “Yea, but I’ve deposited at 5 schools. I’m just seeing which one I like best before I cancel my other deposits.” It was April 30th!!