In the minds of parents and teenagers going through the college application process, May 1 is a magic date. At that point, you’ll have made your decision, sent in a deposit, bought a sticker for your car window and posted your choice on social media.
This year, however, scores of teenagers had something unexpected happen next: During the first week in May, they received text messages or emails from schools that had accepted them but had not heard back. The messages all hinted at a particular question: Might a little bigger discount prompt you to come here after all?
Hampshire College, Elizabethtown College and Ursinus College all did this sort of outreach in recent weeks, as did Lawrence University — and perhaps many others, though these were the ones I was able to confirm after a week of reporting.
For some students, such a note can be a dream come true if it makes their first-choice college more affordable — even if it means forfeiting a deposit at another school, which typically runs into the hundreds of dollars.