National College Decision Day

A group of diverse high school seniors wearing their college colors, surrounded by acceptance letters and celebratory confetti..
National college decision day illustration

It's college decision time! The moment when the sleeping bags come out, campuses are flooded with eager (and let's be honest, slightly terrified) High School seniors, and frustrating moments are had trying to understand the seemingly alien language of academic modules. Indeed, National College Decision Day is a crucial point in many a budding scholar's journey. The day, annually enjoyed on May 1st, is well known as a time of celebration, reflection and, of course, those all-important decisions.

When is College Decision Day?

It's national college decision day on the 1st May.

History of National College Decision Day

Whilst many may argue that each day has its own national holiday - from the fantastically niche to the wonderfully bizarre - National College Decision Day came to life with a slightly more practical purpose in mind. This day, solidified firmly on May 1st, is when high school seniors across the country make those all-important decisions about where they'll be spending their next 3 to 4 academic years. But did we always have a set day for this nail-biting choice? Not quite. The trend of this day rose to prominence around the turn of the century as universities sought to bring order to the whirlwind of college applications.

The Viral Fame of National College Decision Day

Surprising to no one, this day has continued to grow in popularity on the internet. May 1st, 2019 saw a whopping 9921 mentions online, almost warranting the creation of the hashtag #decisiondaydetox. From proud parents showing off acceptance letters, to colleges flashing their enticing campus perks, the online world becomes a virtual sand box, filled with university dreams and fair share of academic ambitions.

Fun and Games on National College Decision Day

Listed along the same vein as food, sports, and – maybe a little oddly – NSFW, National College Decision Day is a day to enjoy. Sure, it might be filled with nail-biting moments and furrowed brows deep in thought, but around that is a nationwide celebration. Joining in the festivity, many colleges over the years have come up with creative (and borderline outrageous) ways to welcome their newly enrolled pupils. From skydiving mascots and fireworks, to mile-long pizza parties, this day manages to be a joyous celebration of the next academic step.

History behind the term 'College Decision'


The Birth of College Decision

The term 'college decision' was coined in 1915 as the process of choosing a college became more formalized and structured. Prior to this, students typically made decisions about which college to attend based on family connections or proximity to their hometowns. However, as higher education became more accessible and prestigious, the need for a deliberate decision-making process arose.


The Introduction of Standardized Tests

In the 1930s, standardized tests like the SAT started gaining prominence in the college admissions process. These tests provided a quantifiable measure of a student's academic abilities, making the college decision process more objective. It became common for students to consider their standardized test scores when selecting a college.


Expansion of College Options

In the 1950s, there was a significant expansion in the number of colleges and universities across the United States. This expansion multiplied the options available to students and made the college decision process even more complex. Students had to consider factors such as location, academic programs, campus culture, and financial affordability when making their decisions.


Increased Emphasis on College Rankings

During the 1970s, college rankings began to influence the college decision process. Publications like U.S. News & World Report started publishing annual rankings, giving students and parents a way to compare colleges based on various factors such as reputation, resources, and selectivity. These rankings played a role in shaping students' perceptions of prestigious institutions.


Rise of College Admissions Consulting

In the 1990s, the college decision process became more competitive, leading to the growth of college admissions consulting. Private consultants and counselors began offering services to help students navigate the complex landscape of college admissions. These consultants provided guidance on college selection, essay writing, and interview preparation, making the decision process more strategic.


Digital Age Influence

With the advent of the internet and online resources, the college decision process underwent a significant transformation. Students gained access to abundant information about colleges, including virtual tours, student reviews, and data on graduation rates. Online platforms like College Board and Naviance allowed students to track application statuses and make informed decisions based on data-driven insights.

Did you know?

Did you know that the most mentions National College Decision Day ever got was in 2019, with an impressive 9921 shout-outs online in one day? That's enough to fill up a good few college classrooms!


fun education college decisionday universities academic May 1st

First identified

6th April 2015

Most mentioned on

1st May 2019

Total mentions


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