Sorry not to have written anything in a while. We had spring break (more on that later) and now it’s the crazy season at my day job (financial advisor).

With admission offers out and acceptance deadlines coming, many students jump on the acceptance from their top choice. Often, that’s the right thing to do: it relieves the stress and seals the deal, so to speak.

However, if you didn’t get as much merit aid as you need to attend the school, don’t accept right away and then hope something more comes along. As other students go through the accept/decline process, more aid dollars might be freed up at your student’s first choice school. Instead, reach out to your top choice school’s admissions office to negotiate your aid award. You’re best served in this process by presenting new, relevant information, especially a better aid offer from a comparable school. But additional information about your family or your student that is pertinent– a recent change in financial status, for example– can also be helpful.

And of course, whatever aid package you got, confirm with your school whether it’s a one-year or four-year offer, and what’s required to renew each year.