January. Those who applied Early Action anxiously await that envelope -- or e-mail, as is often the case in the information age -- the "We welcome you to xyz U, class of 2017" or "We regret to inform you.." from colleges offering the comfort (or further angst) that comes with knowing where you stand -- even if it's on a waiting line.

If rejected, well, there's still time to apply elsewhere. [You didn't want to go there anyway, right? Mom made you apply. ;-)]

Assuming you are accepted, now what?

Okay. Unlike Early Decision, where you are married to that one school of choice should they deem you worthy, Early Action candidates still have their options, as do those who applied Regular Decision.

True, your finger hovers over that, "Yes, I'm coming" button. Wooooo Hooooo! But don't be so quick to hit it.

With Early Action, like Regular Decision, your decision typically does not have to be made on the spot. Indeed, most schools have an acceptance deadline of May 1. [Check to be sure. You wouldn't want to miss it. Not even by an hour.]

"But I'm absolutely certain I want to go there..."
Of course. And maybe that's true. Still, unless you think the college made some gross miscalculation in offering you admission, and may, once they realize, withdraw the offer, hold off, at least a while.

What will you be waiting for? Well, for one thing, let's see where else you get in. You'll then have the opportunity to weigh your options, consider all offers, and, when it comes to financial aid awards, to, perhaps, use one school's offer to up the ante of another. [Yes, it does happen, and it never hurts to ask!] Accept now and, quite frankly, you've put all your cards on the table. [And why should a college that has you "locked in" offer you anything more than the minimum in aid, if that?]

Discuss your acceptances -- and your rejections -- with your parents, guidance counselor, and independent college planner. Think about your future, or at least the next four years of your life. Take a deep breath and look carefully before you leap. [And wouldn't it be nice, at long last, to turn the tables on those college admissions officers, making them wait for your decision?]

Know before you go. Visit campus. Already visited? Take a second, or third, look. Sit in on a few classes. Try out the dorm room beds. Chow down in the dining hall. After all, if this is where you'll be spending the next four years, you want to be sure you'll like it here.

Yes, if you are dead certain that you are not going to a college that has offered admission, by all means, decline the invitation forthwith, freeing up a seat for a student who may have her heart set on going there. Otherwise, considering that you're in, what's the rush?

Time is now, as they say, on your side!

P.S. Just because you've been accepted, now is not the time to coast. Keep up those grades. Acceptance is almost always conditioned upon your maintaining the scholastic record that got you in in the first place!

Plan. Prepare. Prevail!

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.

Who knows what peril lurks in the college application and admissions process? The College Whisperer knows. . .

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