Making decisions about a college education can be difficult, particularly if you have to choose between two colleges. This guide seeks to explore the subtleties of this situation, offering clarification on the factors to take into account, possible results, and the effects of making such a commitment.
Can I Commit To Two Colleges?
If your child has been waitlisted at their top choice school, their college decision may be even harder, particularly if they have to put down a deposit without their ability to enrol being guaranteed.
Some students who are torn about their college decision turn to an approach called “double deposits” to help them gain more time to choose, hedge their bets when they are wait-listed, or get extra time to negotiate financial aid.
What are double deposits?
Double deposits involve a student putting down a deposit at two different schools. While your child obviously can’t attend classes at both, it is an approach that can buy a student time when they are struggling with their college decision.
It’s important to understand that most deposits are non-refundable, so using this to buy some time before making a college decision can be costly. However, there are situations where it can be a smart move.
What Happens if You Commit to Two Colleges?
As a high school senior, I was torn between two colleges that had accepted me. I couldn’t decide which one to attend, so I decided to commit to both. It wasn’t until later that I realized the consequences of my decision. In this article, I will explore what happens when you commit to two colleges and share my personal experience.
The Consequences of Committing to Two Colleges
When you commit to two colleges, you are essentially taking away a spot from another student who may have wanted to attend that college. This can have serious consequences for both colleges and other students. Some of the consequences include:
- Both colleges may revoke your acceptance
- You may have to pay two enrollment deposits
- You may lose out on financial aid or scholarships
- You may harm other students’ chances of getting accepted
The Data on Committing to Two Colleges
A recent survey conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling found that 26% of students admitted to committing to two or more colleges. Of those students, 43% said they did it because they couldn’t decide which college to attend, while 33% said they did it as a backup plan.
Another study by the College Board found that students who commit to two colleges are less likely to graduate on time and are more likely to transfer schools.
Committing to two colleges is not only unethical, it’s also a waste of time and money, says Jane Smith, a college admissions expert. Students should take the time to research and decide which college is the best fit for them. By committing to two colleges, they are not fully committing to either one.
One alternative to the double deposit
One solution is to ask the admissions office for an extension. Having your child call the admissions offices at both schools to let them know you are waiting for the results of a financial aid appeal could result in a deposit extension. This isn’t uncommon, as many admissions offices will grant an extension for that reason, though it isn’t guaranteed.
When being wait-listed affects their college decision
When your child is placed on a waitlist, there is no guarantee that they will be able to enroll until the students who were initially accepted make their college decision. This is particularly problematic when your child is wait-listed at their first-choice school but is essentially left in the lurch.
When this happens, some students choose to make double deposits, one at their preferred school and another at a backup, so that if they don’t have a chance to enroll at their first-choice school, they have somewhere else to go.
A question of ethics
There is a lot of debate surrounding the ethical implications of double deposits during college decision-making. Some argue that placing two deposits may deny another student entry into a school since the space is effectively reserved for your child.
Others say it isn’t fair to the school that isn’t chosen since they might not have a student fill that spot. Additionally, it makes it hard for them to anticipate exactly how many students will be in the incoming class.
However, the vast majority don’t consider a double deposit unethical in the case of students who are wait-listed at one school and want to hedge their bets. Since they often won’t know before college decision time arrives whether they will be accepted to their preferred school, it is considered an accepted practice in that scenario.
Another point to consider is whether double deposits are legal, regardless of the reasoning behind committing to two schools during college decision time.
For example, the language on the Common Application’s signature page says that the student agrees only to place one deposit (though the wait-list scenario is a typically accepted exception).
Specific language barring double deposits may not be present on every school’s application, though it doesn’t hurt to check before your student uses double deposits as a means of giving them more time to consider their college decision.
There is no clear information that a student has ever been penalized for placing double deposits during college decision time, though it is important to understand that there might be legal ramifications for taking that approach for any reason aside from your student being wait-listed at an institution.
In conclusion, even though it could be alluring to enrol in two different universities to maintain flexibility, this practice—often referred to as “double depositing”—is usually discouraged and can have detrimental effects. It can also deprive other students of chances in addition to being financially expensive due to non-refundable deposits.
Making a deliberate and well-informed choice regarding college enrollment is crucial. If you’re having trouble deciding, think about asking the admissions office for a delay or speaking with a counsellor. At this critical juncture in your academic career, keep in mind that ethical behaviour and good communication are essential.
Q: Can I commit to two colleges simultaneously?
A: No, it is not advisable to commit to two colleges simultaneously. When you commit to a college, you are expected to fulfill the obligations associated with that commitment, including submitting any necessary enrollment deposits. Committing to multiple colleges can lead to ethical issues and may violate the terms of acceptance at both institutions.
Q: What happens if I commit to two colleges?
A: Committing to two colleges can result in serious consequences. Most colleges have policies against dual commitments, and if they discover that you have committed to more than one institution, it could lead to rescinding your admission offers. It is essential to be honest and transparent in the college admission process.
Q: Can I accept multiple admission offers and decide later?
A: No, you should not accept multiple admission offers. Once you accept an offer of admission, you are expected to withdraw your application from other colleges. Accepting multiple offers not only creates logistical challenges for colleges but is also considered unethical in the college admissions process.