You Got into College. What Do You Do Next?

on March 22, 2017

You were accepted to one or more colleges, but what do you do next?

 

There are a few key steps to choosing which college will be your college:

  • Don’t rush your decision. You have until May 1, the National Candidate’s Reply Date, to make your decision. Although you might feel the urge to accept the first college that admits you, it is best to wait until you hear from all the colleges to which you applied. That way, you can consider all of the offers of admission you receive before deciding which offer to accept.
     
  • Visit or revisit the colleges to make a decision. Visit each of your top three college choices to consider how you feel about each college. Now that you have been admitted to these colleges, you might feel differently about them. You shouldn’t choose a college until you’ve tried it on, to see how well it fits.
     
  • Understand the financial aid award letter. Financial aid award letters can be really confusing. They often blur the distinction between grants and loans, making it difficult to figure out how much the college is really going to cost you. 
     
  • Get answers to your questions. Be sure to get answers to all your questions before you decide. The admissions office can help you get answers to your questions. Explore the college’s website. Talk to local alumni of the college.
     
  • Discuss your options with people you trust. Seek guidance from parents, teachers and school counselors. They can help you focus on what is most important.
     
  • Use a decision matrix to compare admissions offers. A decision matrix can help you clarify your thinking by arranging the most important criteria on a single page.
     
  • Decide by May 1. Accept the offer of admission from one college by May 1, otherwise known as Decision Day. Most colleges will have you submit your decision online but a few will have you fill out a card. Also pay the deposit by this deadline. Respond quickly to any requests you receive from this college. Finish any paperwork on time. Notify the colleges that you won’t be attending, so they can offer admission to a wait-listed student.
     
  • Consider whether to remain on the wait-list at the colleges that waitlisted you.  If you are waitlisted by one or more colleges, remain on the list only if you are really interested in attending the college. If you are accepted off the wait-list, get the offer of admission in writing before making a decision. You should have at least 72 hours to decide. If you decide to attend that college, you will forfeit your deposit at the other college.
     
  • Continue to work hard in school. Finish your senior year in high school with a strong academic performance. Senioritis can turn your college dreams into a nightmare. Keep your grades up because colleges can rescind offers of admission if your grades drop. Even if you don’t lose your slot at the college, you might still lose any merit scholarships. Send a final transcript to the college.

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