04/02/2012 05:11 pm ET Updated Jun 02, 2012

How to Be the Best Admitted Student

As you're reading this, the United State Postal Service is reaping its largest profit since Christmas. Colleges and universities are doing their part to keep the bankrupt service afloat by mailing decision letters to bloodthirsty high school seniors. Just like the postal service, students are most desperate for the heavier envelopes. Inside awaits the offer of a lifetime -- an invitation to become a member of The University of Your Dreams. Finally the wait, the stress, and the hard work are all over!


The biggest "catch 22" for most college-bound students immediately follows the acceptance. If you were accepted to your dream school, can you afford it? If you only received offers from your "middle-tier" schools, how are you going to differentiate them and choose? Can you afford those? If you were not accepted to any schools you like, but still have your heart set on your dream school, can you transfer after a semester? And can you afford to do so?

Do you see a pattern here?

The best part is, you have a little over a month to make a final decision by May 1. Feeling overwhelmed yet? How can you possibly enjoy being an admitted student if you only have a month to do so? You've come to the right spot.

1. Crunch the numbers. It is not worth enrolling in a college or university if it means putting you and/or your family on the streets. My guess is that if you go to a bank looking for $100,000 in loans these days, all of that buzz about the recession will finally become relevant and the bank will tell you to take a hike. I promise that you will find happiness and success at another school that is at least offering you money to go there, or is affordable in its own right. So put it out of your head and move on. Trust me, your future spouse will thank you for not sticking him or her with thousands of dollars in 40 years.

2. Do your research. The majority of students that decide to leave a college or university do so for logistical reasons. On that note, most schools do not offer scholarships for transfer students. So make sure your school offers your intended major or program. If the school is located in an urban area and you hate rats and bed bugs, then that might be a warning sign not to enroll. If you think you'll miss your mom's fresh baked banana bread every Sunday, then choosing a school on the other side of the country may not be a wise decision.

3. Ask the right questions. Meet current students. Attend a class. Stay overnight if you can. Expose yourself to as much of the school's culture as possible, especially if you are on the fence with your decision. You should know by now what the average class size is, but it is time now to figure out how that class size will work to your advantage. Basically, what is your return on investment going to be? (Also know as ROI for you future business students).

Let's assume you were waitlisted or even denied at some schools. While my plan is to delve deeper into these topics in my next post (what better reason to subscribe!?), I will just go ahead and tell you up front that there is no point trying to overturn a rejection. You will just end up spinning your wheels and risk upsetting yourself even more. If you are waitlisted, make sure you not only place yourself on the list, but also secure a spot for yourself somewhere by putting down a deposit. The last thing you want is to have no options in the event a school does not go to their waiting list.

Now that I have prepared your head for explosion, what is the best part about being an admitted student? We are at your disposal because everything we have worked for since September comes down to your deposit so that we can make our freshman class. So now it's time to milk it! Make us work for your deposit!

But seriously, April is our biz's "tax season," so go easy on us.

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