May 1, College Signing Day, is a day recently recognized for celebrating high school seniors going to college and an opportunity to encourage a college-going culture among all students. It is intended to be recognized in a celebratory manner similar to the signing of athletes to college sports programs. However, sports-related signing days are also about commitment. Students who have been courted by athletic programs, some for many years, formally commit to acceptance of college financial offers in exchange for sports participation via signing “letters of intent”. Although very important to the financial well-being of all signed scholarship athletes, the athletic programs are likewise strengthened by the commitments of premier athletes.
Similarly, some states, communities and individual high schools participate in Signing Day type activities for all college-bound students. The programs are generally presented as joyous, praise-filled recognition of all students heading on to the next level of education. Programs may be a grand as budgets allow. Interestingly, some schools do not allow students to be listed in programs or formally participate without producing both letters of acceptance and demonstrations of enrollment, because this is not just for the students. The colleges and universities would like to confirm their pending class members.
Most colleges and universities require admitted students to make a refundable $150 – $250 enrollment deposit to the school before “signing date”, as a statement of commitment and to save a spot in the class. As this is sufficient to hold your spot, if you are still unsure about where you will choose to go, but able to make two or three deposits, do so with plans to obtain your refunds later. There are many more tasks to perform in preparation for starting school. Continue school-specific scholarship application completions, as well as competing for money that may eventually be applied anywhere. And, continue gathering materials and supplies that will have universal application. However, defer sending any additional school-specific fees until fully committed.
For students still on waiting lists, this is the time to enthusiastically reach out to those schools to confirm your persisting interests. Many schools also have rolling admissions. The second semester or 3rd/4th quarters gave some students time to improve their resumes (GPAs, test scores, activities, essays, etc.). If not having already, recently routed your applications to these rolling admissions schools (RAS), get busy doing so. Most RAS have higher acceptance rates, but now is the best time to look for openings at the tops of your lists while the commitment scramble is underway.
So, for those of you who are fully committed, enjoy the formal programs, pep rallies, assemblies, ice cream, cakes, pizza, cookouts or whatever manners of Signing Day celebrations occur at your school. Otherwise, continue with the business of the application processes. Happy May 1,for success, Make the Best of Signing Day. For assistance, contact us.