First of all, congratulations on your college acceptance(s)! This is an exciting time! We know that the college admissions process can be nerve-wracking, unpredictable, and at times, overwhelming. Schools have spent weeks or months determining which applicants are the best fit for them, but once the acceptances come in, the tables turn; now you get to decide which school is right for you. ***
- First, take a deep breath! This is not an easy process and you did it! Take a moment to be grateful and remember to finish your senior year strong. Your final transcript is sent to your school of choice and finishing strong affirms the school’s decision to welcome you into their new class.
- Time to weigh your options. College visits were not always possible due to the pandemic. However, there are several ways to “visit” campus if you cannot actually get there. Check out virtual tours on a college’s website, or those made by students can be found doing a google search. Websites like Niche.com contain reviews by students, addressing topics from academics to social life, but take these with a grain of salt as sometimes reviews are just students venting about one bad experience. Do a social media search or connect with current students in order to obtain insights and get the lowdown.
- This is the time to take it all into account: size, location/distance, school culture, school spirit, sports, Greek life, majors and programs of interest, internship opportunities, job placement outcomes, cost, or even how close the nearest Steak and Shake is (hey, whatever is important to you).
- If you received a financial offer, please review it carefully. What needs to be paid back and what does not? Is the offer good for four years or only your first year? Are there requirements, like GPA, you must meet to obtain financial aid over the course of your college years?
- This may be obvious, but once you make your final decision, be sure to indicate that in the portal of the school you are planning to attend. With this, a deposit is typically required. Also, check housing requirements and review all instructions carefully.
- If you applied using test scores, you may need to send in your official scores from either the College Board (SAT, subject tests) or ACT if you self-reported them with your application. If a school superscores, and you used multiple dates to aggregate your score, make sure to send all appropriate test dates/scores.
- It is also appropriate to indicate a “decline” in your portal for those schools that you decide not to attend. If there is no obvious place to decline the offer, please email your admissions rep or the admissions office to politely decline their offer.
- Consider joining social media groups for your school’s new class. This is a great way to connect with other students and possibly even find a roommate. Parents can also join a social media parent group for their student’s school. This can be an excellent resource where parents can ask questions and learn from other parents.
- It is common and a good practice to write emails or even handwrite a note to those who helped with the process and/or wrote a letter of recommendation for you such as teachers or guidance counselors. People love to feel appreciated!
- Soon enough there will be lots of logistics to consider like roommates, room décor, and orientation. In the meantime, rejoice in your accomplishments, and get ready for the new journey upon which you are about to embark!
***Ah, the waitlist. If you have been waitlisted at a top choice school and are wondering about your chances, I will say this: as you know, this year has been as crazy as ever, but traditionally, schools do not move too far into their waitlists. They accept the number of students that they think they will need to fill a class, considering a percentage that they expect will decline. However, because this year has been less predictable due to the pandemic, we expect that more students will be offered a “waitlist” status. While this provides some hope, it is a best practice to focus on the schools that have accepted you and move forward with selecting one of those. If you are finally accepted off the waitlist, you may lose the deposit you made to the other school, but go ahead and celebrate that acceptance!!
Courtney Fahn, Milestone College Advisor