Gear Up for National College Decision Day 2024

Learn why Decision Day might not be May 1 this year. Get three tips while you wait for your financial aid awards to arrive before making any decisions. Access a guide with tools to help you make the best college decision.

Shawna Newman

April 10, 2024

Gear Up for National College Decision Day 2024
Did your colleges of interest extend their deadlines?
Wednesday, May 1st is National Decision Day in the United States, which means the pressure is on for high school seniors to make final college and university decisions. National College Decision Day is a deadline the Class of 2024 has been preparing for! College Decision Day 2024 is more challenging this year due to several FAFSA delays. FAFSA information will be sent to colleges later, limiting the time college financial aid offices have to evaluate FAFSA data and send award packages to students. This domino effect directly impacts the traditional May 1 College Decision Day for 2024 seniors! Students and families use financial aid award packages to narrow the college choice list. Comparing award packages is key to making the best college decision. College tuition, private and public, is not cheap; many families rely on financial aid award letters to make the final college choice. JUMP TO THE COLLEGE DECISION GUIDE
How can you make the best college choice when you do not have all the financial information needed?
  1. Don’t rush your college decision. More than 400 colleges have extended their Decision Day deadlines! The National Association for College Admission Counseling has created a public directory of 2024 Revised College Decision Day deadlines. Use the list to see if your college has extended the 2024 Decision Day deadline. If your college is not on this list, contact the financial aid office to see if their decision day has been extended. If you have not received a financial aid award package from the university, ask for an extension so you have time to review and compare their award package with others.
  2. Apply for scholarships. Focus on finding and applying for scholarships to help you pay for school. Many scholarships do not require FAFSA information. Be sure your Fastweb profile is updated. This saves you time and provides scholarships that fit you.
  3. Fill out your FAFSA. Do not skip completing your 2024-2025 FAFSA. The revised FAFSA was designed to provide even more Pell Grant access to students. The Pell Grant is money for school you DO NOT need to pay back! If you don’t complete the FAFSA, you will be eliminated from Pell Grants, Work-Study program access, and Federal student loan opportunities.

College Decision Guide

If you haven’t made your college decision yet, that’s ok. We’ve curated a guide of articles that include pros and cons, financial aid tips, and more, to help make your final college decision easier.

Top 15 Mistakes to Avoid in Choosing a College

Don't use these methods when deciding on a college. Learn why.

Questions to Ask About Your Financial Aid Package

Ask these nine questions about each financial aid package you receive from colleges. Doing this will help you make the best, most financially responsible college decision for yourself (and your future).

3 Signs You’re Ready to Commit

If you can easily answer these common questions, you've already made your college decision. Find out what these questions are and if you're ready to commit to a college.

Taking the College Search to Social Media

If you're having a hard time making a college decision, try these sneaky social media tricks.

Accepted! 5 Steps to Take Now

Now that you've been accepted, you should do these five things to make the best college choice.

College Rejection Letters and Wait Lists: Moving Forward

If you didn't get an acceptance letter from your top-choice college or made it to the waitlist, find out how to move forward and stay college bound.

What happens if you miss College Decision Day?

Can you commit to a college after May 1st? Yes, you can commit to a college after May 1st College Decision Day in most cases. One consideration is housing options may be limited if you commit to college later than the norm. In years other than 2024, it may be concerning that financial aid is limited with a late college commitment. However, the current aid delays mean it may not be a big obstacle for late-commitment students this year. Many colleges are behind the ball already when it comes to financial aid and the distribution of award packages.

Celebrating Your College Decision

When do college decisions come out? Regular college decision acceptance letters are sent to students in March with early April being the latest a student may receive decisions. Early Decisions are usually sent to seniors the beginning of November of the year prior to graduation. Early Action Decisions are usually released from December through the end of January. With much anticipation, students, families, college admissions officers, and even school district teachers, have been anxiously awaiting this big day. Cue the unique, decision day celebrations. Be confident and ready to make yourself proud as you begin your freshman year at your university, community college, or trade school! Better Make Room is the organization behind organizing a national celebration of your higher education decision. This year they’re inviting your school and community to join in on the occasion by using the hashtags #CollegeSigningDay and #BetterMakeRoom when you share your college choice.

Paying for College

May is full of celebrations, from the return of spring to Easter to graduation. Don’t get too sidetracked that you forget to apply for scholarships after you’ve submitted your deposit. Scholarships can help you to lower the cost of college and avoid any unnecessary student loan debt. Make the scholarship process easier by creating your FREE Fastweb profile. From this, you’ll be auto matched to scholarships that fit you. Remember to continue applying for scholarships throughout college. Many students make the mistake of thinking that scholarships are only available to high school juniors and seniors. That couldn't be farther from the truth. Update your Fastweb profile during your college career to ensure we're matching you to the best scholarships possible. Try to apply for at least four scholarships per month. After all, the more scholarships you apply for, the better your chances of winning.

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Shawna Newman

Managing Editor, Contributing Writer

Shawna Newman is the Managing Editor and a writer at Fastweb. She has over 10 years of experience in higher education. Her direct work with college admissions teams, financial aid officers, college deans, ...

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