May 1 is National Decision Day in the United States, and for some graduating high school seniors, it's one of the biggest days of their lives.
National Decision Day, also referred to as College Signing Day, is the deadline for incoming college freshmen to commit to a school among the institutions that have offered them admission.
In 2015, this monumental day for high school seniors across the U.S. was declared “National College Signing Day” by former First Lady Michelle Obama. Even after her active tenure as First Lady, Obama continues to support students by highlighting their decisions across the nation.
The road to College Decision Day is typically a long journey for students. They have spent many hours considering an intended major and possible minor or emphasis, researching schools, touring college campuses, writing personal essays, obtaining letters of recommendation, taking standardized tests, and submitting college applications – not to mention the anticipation of awaiting college acceptance letters – which all culminate to this moment.
With a few exceptions, it is standard that incoming applicants commit to a college by May 1. Once you receive an offer letter, you can respond at any point before that date to secure your spot at the institution. This means you can confirm your enrollment by submitting your future school’s required non-refundable enrollment deposit.
In spring 2018, I celebrated this milestone with my family and committed to San Diego State with an intended major in journalism in a neighborhood coffee shop. It was there that my mom and I met with an out-of-state admissions counselor from SDSU, who was assigned to meet with admitted students in my hometown ahead of Decision Day to answer questions and provide perspectives as an admissions representative and former alumna.
I felt accomplished after making my first big decision all on my own, as I had only been an adult for a little over a month at this time. That increased my self-confidence and sharpened my ability to analyze what was best for me, both of which improve as you progress through adulthood.
Now, I’m a college graduate, with almost a year of holding my degree in something other than journalism, and even bigger life decisions to make on behalf of my future. I’m grateful that Decision Day recognizes how big of a deal a young adult’s choice can be – because making a choice of that magnitude will affect your life and the rest of the decisions you make from that point, let alone the monumental impact of the choice to attend college.
The reality of decisions leading to transitions in your life can be frightening and can open the door to all kinds of pressure, depending on your background and knowing that anything can happen during the moments you spend carrying out said decision. But having a celebratory ring to Decision Day can illuminate the milestone.
It’s a proud day for not just students, but their support system too. These people can include family, friends, educators, coaches, counselors and many other respective influential figures that helped these students reach this point.
During my second year of college, I was able to reconnect with the same admissions counselor I met before beginning my SDSU journey. I worked on a number of on-campus university affairs projects throughout my college career with her. She is now a member of my professional network and a resource to me, just as she was on Decision Day several years ago.
If you’re a high school senior gearing up for Decision Day, welcome to the rest of your life! There will be highs and lows, but allow yourself space to process what this means for you and your future. It will be then where you will be provided a plethora of opportunities to mature as a young adult.
Choosing where to attend college will be your first big decision and it’s not an easy one – but it’s certainly exciting to have the privilege to do so.
On behalf of YR Media, we want to congratulate the incoming Class of 2027!
@xochasehope DECISION DAYYYY🎓!! #xochase #decisionday #seniorszn ♬ original sound - XO Chase
— Hofstra University (@HofstraU) May 1, 2023
— University of Cincinnati (@uofcincy) May 1, 2023
Happy National College Decision Day!
Congratulations to all of our new Owls today who chose Temple and Philadelphia. Your college years will be a time of growth, learning and new experiences. Welcome to the nest pic.twitter.com/nJCQlM5to7
— Temple University (@TempleUniv) May 1, 2023
Ayyyyeeee National Decision Day!! pic.twitter.com/U9vWmmrSQQ
— arimone._ (@arimonee) May 1, 2023
@oatmealpapa0 This screams Bright Futures #famu #fsu #uf #florida #brightfutures #usf #decisionday #senioryear #senior ♬ always remember you - Abbi Sutphen
Congratulations on College Decision Day, Jeremy will be attending Florida A&M University pic.twitter.com/3IsLS6P9fh
— HBCU Premier Sports & More (@HBCUSports1) May 1, 2023
— Mizzou (@Mizzou) May 1, 2023
— UBuffalo (@UBuffalo) May 1, 2023
@pop_phsnews COLLEGE DECISION DAY @ PHS🎓 Where are you going Class of 2023? #college #student #plantpanthers #funny #studentlife #tampa #highschool #senioryear #seniors #decisionday ♬ original sound - PHS NEWS
Happy Decision Day to the #ClassOf2027! The Northwestern community has a message for our newest Wildcats...
— Northwestern (@NorthwesternU) May 1, 2023
— jadaboo️ (@jadaagreen) May 1, 2023
— Arrionna (@belike_arri) May 1, 2023
@laiitherula senior decision day!! ❤️🖤 #fyp #viral_video #classof2023 #co23 #CapCut ♬ original sound - laila
— Suzanne Capraro (@HazletSupvELA) May 1, 2023
— Golden Lord (@Ashbash2302) May 1, 2023
— neé (@neenyashia) May 1, 2023
@laurencivi This is so sad #decisionday ♬ always remember you - Abbi Sutphen