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Students waiting longer to commit to college

Andy Buscher and his daughter Stacy Buscher, a junior at Brainerd (Minn.) High School, read course brochures Monday at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Stacy is considering classes related to the medical field. Dave Wallis / The Forum

High school seniors tend to be waiting longer this year to commit to a college.

Minnesota State University Moorhead Admissions Director Gina Monson said students are delaying their decision and continuing to shop around.

Many are waiting to find out about scholarship awards and financial aid packages before they pick a college, Monson said.

MSUM and Concordia College hosted high school juniors and seniors and their families Monday who were doing campus visits.

About 175 families visited MSUM and more than 100 families visited Concordia.

Officials at Concordia are seeing similar patterns, said Omar Correa, vice president for enrollment.

"Due to the economy, people are making stronger choices but maybe taking some time to think through them," Correa said.

At MSUM, about three-fourths of the students who visited on Monday had already been admitted to the university and were there for a final look, Monson said.

Students typically apply to five to seven schools, she said.

Some even pre-register for courses at multiple schools before making a final decision, said Tim Borchers, interim dean of arts and humanities.

MSUM is seeing fewer freshman applications this year from North Dakota and South Dakota as those states are now offering more incentives to keep students in-state, Monson said. But freshman applications from the Twin Cities area are up, as are transfer applications, Monson said.

At Concordia, applications are up, but the number that has been admitted is slightly smaller, Correa said.

Kayla McDonald, a high school senior from Andover, Minn., which is north of the Twin Cities, met with MSUM faculty and toured the art department on Monday.

McDonald said MSUM is her top choice because of its size and photography program.

Her mother, Sandy McDonald, was pleased the see the campus is compact.

"She won't get lost," McDonald said.