May 1st is the most common deadline among colleges and universities for students to make their choice. Akin to when prospective football athletes choose which college to play for, this day is celebrated when high school students choose their college and university. Across the country, schools host assemblies and ceremonies where students proudly declare the college they intend to attend in the fall. National College Signing Day is a day that each student can proudly share where they will attend, whether a 2-year community college, 4-year university, or another postsecondary education route.
We celebrate all our students, especially our first-generation students, for choosing their destination in higher education. For many students, it has been a struggle. They may have had to juggle family responsibilities with school. Others had to work while attending school. Overall, we commend each student that has persevered and succeeded so far. It is an incredible accomplishment and a step towards a productive career.
Choosing a college can be daunting. It may be a student’s first real adult decision. There are comparisons between colleges on factors such as financial aid packages, academic rigor, student activities offered, transferability of credits, and the college location. Each is important, so a decision should take into account many of these considerations.
Once a decision has been made, students may have questions about postsecondary education between National College Signing Day and the first day of classes. If it’s financial aid questions, check out the Federal Student Aid resources to help answer your questions. If it’s learning more about a specific college, the College Navigator tool can provide additional information. If t’s learning about potential career options, explore the CareerOneStop site and discover the education requirements for each career option.
For first-generation students, it may be difficult to comprehend what they’ll experience when they step onto the college campus in the fall. Throughout the summer, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics will be sharing first-person accounts of college experiences through the Student Voices blog series. Most of the blogs are from first-generation students, and they will be sharing a spectrum of experiences from choosing a major to thriving in college away from home. These stories are available to let you know that there have been others who have been in your shoes as you prepare for attending college in the fall. You can find these stories here.
Emmanuel Caudillo is the senior advisor to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics