A Life-Changing Decision in a Month

By Elie Doubleday

I’m sitting in Paula’s office, in one of the big blue chairs in front of the window. She’s at her desk facing me, my file open. I’m nervous. I can feel it in my stomach, this decision I have to make. How on earth do I know which college to pick? What if I pick the wrong one? There’s a lot riding on this choice. It’s only the next four years of my life and the four years of my education that matter the most.

Now that we’re past April 1st, every senior has, for better or worse, heard back from their colleges. Only now we have less than a month to make a decision. For people who were accepted into their first choice school or who only got into one school, that decision is easy. But for the rest of us, the decision can be a total pain. I checked in with some of my fellow seniors to see how everyone’s feeling.

Alex Williams made a valid point about the minimal amount of time we’re given to make this decision. He said “A lot of the schools I applied to didn’t tell me if I got in until April 1st, and that only gives me a month to decide. That’s a month to brush out the cobwebs and figure out how much I actually like a school that I haven’t been on the campus of in a year and half.” I, for one, can’t remember what it was I liked about my most of my schools and my parents have regretfully decided not to fly me to the East coast to visit again.

On the same vein, another senior has concerns of her own that never even occurred to me. “Even though everyone says we’ll be okay wherever we decide to go, it’s hard to keep in perspective that this decision doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.” I most certainly feel that this decision matters. And, moreover, “being on waitlists just extends the state of limbo for students. Even more nervous waiting, holding on to that last bit of hope,” Aaron L. says. We don’t have much time to pick a school before we have to commit and submit our non-refundable deposit. What sucks is when your top choice school then admits you from their waiting list and you either lose money the money you put down at your second choice school or you give up your top choice school.

But not everyone is worried. Brenden L. tells me that “having a whole month to decide on a college feels like plenty of time, but I almost wish it would pass faster to know for certain which college I will be attending.” He just wants to be fully committed sooner. Regina L. said it’s “WACK. Exciting but wack.”

“I have no clue where to go yet but if I didn’t have a deadline, I’d probably never choose,” she continued. Which is actually true for me as well.

And Nathan C. is “not feeling a whole lot of stress about it at this point. To me, the application process was more stressful, but this is a very exciting time of the year. It’s exciting not only to think about where I’ll be at school next year, but also about where all of my peers will be. Obviously it is a huge decision, but I’m feeling a lot more excitement than stress or dread at this point.” I am of the opposite opinion. Making a decision is way more difficult for me than writing applications ever was.

To bring this all to a close, I’m going to end with what Aaron L. is most looking forward to in this whole process. Sending “rejection” letters to the colleges he will not be attending.

“Dear —- University,

Although your institution is more than qualified, I must regretfully inform you that I cannot offer you a place in my education. Best of luck with future students.”

We will finally get to be the ones in power. We’ve vied for their attention for so long and now they’re vying for ours. It’s kind of refreshing.