The problems with double depositing: Part 2
Here is the view of Michael Sexton, vice president for enrollment management at Santa Clara University in California, on the practice of double depositing.
By Michael Sexton
Spring is college acceptance time, followed by decision time. In all of the strategizing and game-playing that have become the college selection process, we are down to the final decision this month. Or ... are we?
I intentionally use the word "we" here as the student involved may, or may not, be part of the final act of scheming that sometimes commences later this month. For some, the national candidates’ reply date of May 1st is merely another calendar page to turn rather than the happy ending to the college search.
Unfortunately, 'tis the season of double depositing, the act of placing deposits at more than one institution, or simply watching the May 1 deposit deadline pass without informing colleges of one’s intentions.
There are parents and even some college counselors who feel that, given the stress of the college search and cost of college today, it’s acceptable to send deposits to two different schools and decide later which one to attend.
As someone who has spent a career in college admissions, I can say with certainty that my colleagues across the country feel this practice undermines the integrity of the admissions process, and that it violates the ethical standards set by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Here are some reasons why college admissions professionals strongly discourage double depositing:
* My institution usually has a critical mass of deposits by mid-April. (We just sent out acceptance letters in late March.) Some send in a deposit, but also send one to another college, essentially holding a seat they may not occupy. Double depositing gums up the works on wait lists. We have to send reminders of the May 1 deadline.
* The point of double depositing or waiting until after the May 1 deadline to decide to enroll escapes me. The entire college search process has been lengthened to months, even years. What more does a student or his or her family think they will learn at this late stage? One thing I know will not happen — financial aid awards are set by then. The pot doesn’t get sweetened at the last minute.
* We really need the May 1 deadline. Students need it so they can get on with taking their AP tests and finishing up their senior year. Parents need it so they can depressurize, and institutions need it because they need to plan to start the process all over again for next year’s class.
* The waiting and double-depositing games actually can have the effect not only of students not enrolling in the colleges of their choice, but also at a few colleges a seat not being taken.
This is rare, but I did hear a story of two selective institutions discovering a candidate had placed deposits at both schools; both rejected the applicant on that basis.
In the next few weeks, "Dateline" or "20/20" will probably do segments on the horror stories about students agonizing about being rejected or wait-listed by their choice college. Some of this anxiety stems from the gamesmanship that has developed in the college search process.
Speaking for my own institution, I would suggest to any applicants that if they are considering double depositing to please just enroll elsewhere. We have enough serious, committed students and parents who have made their decision and stuck with it.
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| April 1, 2010; 6:31 AM ET
Categories: College Admissions | Tags: college admissions, double depositing
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