Schedule Final College Visits
Assuming time and budget allow, visit your top college contenders. While you’re there, sit in on some classes, eat in the dining hall and stay the night in the dorms, if possible.
Meet with the admissions office, financial aid office and a college guidance counselor to clarify any questions you may have regarding what the school offers in terms of financial aid, classes, campus life and other general requirements.
Seriously think about if you can picture yourself living there and studying there on a daily basis for the next four years. While it’s a lot to grasp and ponder, it is the reality of the situation, so try your best to imagine the scenario.
Compare the Costs of Each College
If you haven’t already, speak with your family about your college budget. Understanding budget realities is very important in the decision process and will help avoid unnecessary decision issues in the near future.
List out the total costs for each college you’re seriously considering, taking into account any scholarships and financial aid you’ll be receiving.
Compare the list to the budget decided upon with your family. How do the two compare? What will your debt amount be at graduation? Does it seem as if any of the schools on your list are completely unrealistic? If so, you may want to reconsider those choices.
If you need any clarification on the costs of attendance, call the financial aid offices at the college you have a question about. They are there to assist you in the process.
Choose Your College
by National Decision Day, May 1
May 1 is the deadline to make your decision and finalize it by sending in your enrollment deposit.
Keep in mind that you can only send in one enrollment deposit and one transcript from your high school – so your decision is, in fact, final.
If you’re on the wait list at a college, however, the process is slightly more flexible. You do have to submit an enrollment deposit by May 1 to a school that has admitted you, but you are able to change your mind and attend a school that originally wait-listed you if they do decide to admit you.
Colleges will not grant any extensions to the May 1 deadline while you wait to hear back from any schools you’ve been wait-listed at, so your best option is to submit your enrollment deposit and switch if you are admitted.
Let Colleges Know If You Decide Not to Attend
Just as with any formal RSVP note, it’s proper etiquette to let colleges know either way: if you are attending or not.
The process of declining may depend on the college, though. Some have a certain protocol, while others will accept a simple letter or email.
In the content, let them know you have decided upon another college and include a thank you. It is your choice whether or not you’d like to reveal which university you will be attending in lieu of theirs.
Write Your Thank You Notes
Remember everyone who helped you throughout your entire admissions process and thank them!
Think about the teachers, coaches and counselors who wrote letter of recommendations for you or guided you along the way.
A thoughtful, hand-written note will show them your appreciation for their efforts. Include your final plans within the content, as well as your gratitude for their help and guidance.
Remember: Your Final Transcripts Matter
Although it sounds funny, senioritis is real! We’ve also written about the fact that colleges can, and will, revoke their admissions offers, if necessary.
They ask for your final transcripts for a reason, so make sure they are up to the same standards as when you applied.
Keep in mind that what you do both inside and outside of school can impact your college career.
Read Any Mail and/or E-Mails Your College Sends
At this point, all correspondence between you and your future school will be important. It’s where you’ll find out about orientations, housing options, class registration, not to mention, many important deadlines!
Make sure you pay attention because, if your school is trying to contact you, there’s probably a good reason.
While this may seem like an information overload, we know you can handle it.
Take the process day by day and enjoy the rest of your high school experience, because college move in day will be here before you know it.
By Elizabeth Hoyt