I’ve received a few acceptances from schools, and more recently, got a full-ride scholarship to a local state university (YAY MONEY!) but they’ve only given me a limited number of days to respond and let them know if I plan on attending/accept the offer to hold my place. I’m still waiting on a few other RD notifications- many of them to some prestigious schools. I would be happy to attend this state school and I don't really have the financial resources to afford expensive tuition rn, but Im torn. I’d still like to see whether I’ve been accepted to these other schools to make an informed decision. Whats my best option here?
The reason schools will do this is that they likely have a very limited number of those scholarships that they can hand out and they want to make sure that, if you don't end up attending, they'll be able to offer them to someone else before the May 1 deadline.
However, you didn't actually say how many days they've given you—is it before the end of March? If it's after the rest of your decisions come back (which should be within the next three weeks for basically all schools), you could wait for those to come in and then respond to this school. If not, you could either make your decision now and stick with it, or accept the offer and back out if you get a better one. That's not exactly the ethical thing to do, but accepting an offer basically just involves paying a deposit, so you would just lose that money if you decided to go somewhere else.
Also, if you're waiting on really prestigious private schools, those schools will typically be pretty generous with financial aid—I don't know your specific circumstances, but did you go through their price calculators and see what you might be eligible for? You might end up having significantly reduced tuition from them as well. If there's any additional info you can give, I might be able to give you more comprehensive advice.
So does accepting the scholarship essentially commit you to that school? Or can you accept the scholarship but still wait for the normal date to commit to a school? If it's the latter I would accept the scholarship, wait to hear from your other schools, and then make a decision.
However, I will say this: a full ride is a HUGE deal. I'm not sure what school gave you the offer and where else you are waiting to hear from but being able to graduate debt free, from a school you're happy to attend, can make a huge difference in your life. Unless these other schools offer similar packages or you barely have to take out loans to attend them I would strongly consider attending the state school. I think not having to worry about money will make things a lot less stressful for both you and your family in the coming years.
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