During late February and March, high-school seniors who have been persistently preparing will be able to conclude on their choice of college. That is because students that completed their FAFSA around Feb. 15 will have had the information forwarded to their choice of schools for review.
This results in an "award letter" where the college acknowledges the financial needs of the family and makes an appropriate offer of financial aid and/or scholarship funding. This time of year is also the last chance for any
meaningful medium-term college planning and school choice. Beyond now, open space at elite institutions is virtually gone and enrollment at flagship public schools will be maxed out.
Procrastinating any longer will now hurt prospects for admission. College planning favors the early, and now is the time when final choices are made. Here are key criteria points a student can use when determining their "Final Choice."
First, there could be an overwhelming amount of interest in attending a school, requiring the process to take more time.
Second, it could be that the school has poorly integrated technology solutions for administrative tasks.
Be advised that if a college is having a hard time responding to you at all about award letters, they may not be able to handle their own student volume. This is a telltale sign that the future dealings with the school's administration will be a sloppy and painful waste of time. While being too judgmental of award letter delivery date is silly (What does one day or one week difference matter?) an extended delay is cause for concern.
Contact your school during the last week of February and first week of March to get a status update on the account. Take note of how each school handles your query and how they respond.
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