The College Decision

Choosing the college that's right for you

After all that work of applying to colleges, now comes the time to make your decision. And it’s a big decision—so take your time and think through your options carefully. Just be sure you know the deadlines for replying to each college so you don’t miss the opportunity to accept the best offer.

Hearing from Your Colleges

You’ll receive 1 of the following from each school you’ve applied to:

  • An acceptance letter letting you know that you have a spot reserved in the incoming class of new students if you want it


  • A denial letter letting you know that you did not get accepted to this school for the following year


  • A waitlist notification letting you know that you’re qualified to be admitted to the school, but there are not enough spots and you’ll need to wait to see if a spot opens up

Weighing Your Options

If you’re accepted into more than one college, you’ll need to decide which school to attend. Follow these 5 steps to help make your decision:

  1. Review your options against your “wish list.” Review the factors that are most important to you in a college and compare each college against those items.
  2. Compare financial aid offers. Compare the financial aid packages from each school to see which are most affordable for your family’s circumstances. Our Paying for College guide or spreadsheet tool can help you evaluate the options. Visit financial aid & college costs for more resources. 
  3. Discuss your options with those you trust. Talk about your choices with your support team (parents, teachers, family) to see if they have any advice.
  4. Listen to those who’ve gone before you. Contact the colleges’ admissions offices and ask if there are graduates in your area who can meet or talk with you over the phone to answer any remaining questions you may have about each college. Or try a website like or, to find out what students have to say about each school.
  5. Listen to your instincts. In the end, a good fit and the right choice will look different for each student. Listen to your gut and balance your feelings with the financial realities of your family.

Making It Official

Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll need to:

  1. Send your commitment to your college of choice. Be sure to send the following by the school’s deadline (around May 1 for most colleges):
    • Your acceptance of their offer
    • The required deposit
    • A separate acceptance letter for financial aid (if required)
    • Any additional forms or required items (be sure to fill out requested paperwork completely)
  2. Send notification to the colleges you won’t be attending. While not required, letting colleges know you won’t be coming is common courtesy. It allows the school to offer your spot to another student who may be on the waiting list.
  3. Keep up your grades and activities. Your college will see your final high school transcripts, so it’s important to keep doing well through graduation. This is especially important if you have been granted a scholarship with specific grade requirements.
  4. Make sure you have the resources lined up to pay for college. Your school will handle any financial aid they may give you to attend. You may also qualify for a grant, scholarships, or student and parent loans from VSAC. Learn more about funding sources>