Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Three Keys to a Successful National College Signing Day

By: Patrick O'Connor Ph.D

High schools are making a pretty big deal out of National College Signing Day, which comes up this Friday.  Long established as the official end of the college search process, May 1 is the day most college-bound students must send a deposit to the college they will attend in the fall. 

In the last few years, high schools are using National College Signing Day as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of their seniors. This is often done with a senior breakfast, a school assembly, or simply encouraging seniors to wear college gear on Friday, but the idea is the same—honor the hard work of the students who will soon leave high school, and show the community everything young people are capable of achieving.

These celebrations usually go off without a hitch, but not always, or not for everyone.  As you blow up your balloons for this coming Friday, keep an eye out for students who may be seeing National College Signing Day  a little differently—especially those who:

Decide that National College Signing Day is plural There is a sense among counselors that more and more students are deciding to keep their college options open after May 1 by putting enrollment deposits in at more than one school.  This may seem like a great choice for the student, but colleges see it as a nightmare. Colleges A, B, and C all think Susie will be on campus in the fall, and when she calls Colleges B and C in mid-August to say she won’t be there, they can’t fill that seat.

If that happens 20 times at even a large college, that can lead to cancelled classes, fewer student services, and a less enjoyable college experience for all—and it can easily happen at College A, where 20 other students have done unto Susie what Susie did to Colleges B and C.

It’s time to end this collegiate version of mutually assured destruction.  Tell your students to make only one deposit, and to make that deposit on May1.

Had no choice with the decision they made  This is a very exciting time for students who have finally sorted through the multiple college offers they received—but less so for some of the students where their several college applications returned only one offer, or none.  For many of these students, it was hard enough watching everyone else’s joy when admission offers were received. National College Signing Day could be an occasion for them to relive that disappointment all over again—and that’s no way to head into graduation.

This doesn’t mean a school should cancel their plans, but it is a reason to stay alert.  Ask your teachers to keep an eye out for seniors who are unusually quiet on Friday.  They may be struggling with something other than their college choice, but no matter what it is, you need to know.

Have a future that doesn’t include postsecondary planning Most high schools have expanded this Friday’s celebration to include more than students who are going to a four-year college, adding students going into skilled trades training, community college, and more.  That’s a good start, but it can leave out those who are heading into the military, those apprenticing, and those going directly into the world of work.

Statistics may show that college training leads to better salaries, but you aren’t celebrating statistics this Friday; you’re celebrating students, and they all need the loudest cheer you can offer as they enter a world that’s tricky at best. Make sure everyone feels entitled to a piece of cake.

No comments:

Post a Comment