May 1st is possibly the most important date on the college counseling calendar. It’s the day when seniors are asked to submit their deposit to a single school. After months of researching colleges, countless hours of filling out applications, even more hours of writing and re-writing essays and then living through the seemingly unbearable wait for their college decisions, May 1st arrives. Students are asked to make a commitment to a single school. As a sign of their commitment, students are asked to submit a deposit. The deposit says to the college: “I believe that XYZ University is the best place for me to spend the next four years of my life. As a token of my intention to attend, I am giving you my deposit”.
I’ve been thinking about deposits lately. What is it and why do colleges require them? A deposit is defined as “a sum payable as a first installment on the purchase of something or as a pledge for a contract, the balance being payable later.” Basically, you are giving to the school a small portion of what will be due later in order to hold your place. On the college’s end, they see it as a commitment from the student that he/she intends to attend. From the student’s perspective, it’s a first payment toward his or her future.
What is it exactly that the deposit ensures? The deposit ensure that a spot will be held for you at that university. Once the school receives your deposit, you can matriculate, enroll in classes, sign up for housing and a meal plan. But does it ensure anything else? Not really. The rest, as they say, is up to you. Your deposit doesn’t ensure that you will be a more knowledgeable person at the end of four years. It doesn’t guarantee a job or admission to graduate school. Will you meet your spouse in college? Maybe, but maybe not. It doesn’t even answer that all-encompassing question: Will I be happy? The deposit doesn’t guarantee any of these things. And while these things could all happen, there’s no guarantee that they will.
I’ve often said to students that they need to think about fit. Find out what criteria matter most, and then find colleges or universities that fit those criteria. There are many factors that will make a school seem like a better fit than others. The more you consider them the greater the chance that you will thrive and succeed and be happy. But we all know that in life, there are few sure things. Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes.
However, I want to share the one sure thing in my life. Yes, there is a sure deposit. But it’s not an investment in a college – it’s a different deposit. And it’s a far more important deposit than the one you gave to colleges. In 2 Timothy 1:12, the Apostle Paul confidently states that he is convinced that Christ is able to guard what he has entrusted to him until the day of His return. Paul is depositing his very life to Jesus. And he is convinced that what he is choosing to invest in is a certainty. Unlike the college experience, when I entrust my life to Jesus, I am investing in a future that is certain. Jesus can be trusted with our lives. There’s no guarantee that life will be perfect. Far from it. There will be hard times and struggles, but I have the assurance that God promises to be with me and that He works all things in my life for good.
That is why I am suffering as I am.
Yet this is no cause for shame,
because I know whom I have believed,
and am convinced that he is able to guard
what I have entrusted to him until that day.
2 Timothy 1:12
So seniors, make sure you send in your deposit. You want to secure your spot at your college. It’s going to be a wonderful four years where you will grow, thrive, and continue to become the best you that you can be. But after you’ve sent in that college deposit, think about where you want to deposit your life. Who will you trust with your life? I hope that you will consider the One who can be trusted with the most important deposit of all.