Congratulations, you got into college! After all the work you’ve put into your applications, you may think you’re ready to sit back and relax. But hang on a second; there’s still work to be done after you’ve received your acceptance letter.
It may not be as much work as the application itself, but if you get ahead of the game now, your transition into college will be that much smoother.
After you’ve been accepted to a college, there are two major steps you need to complete before you go. First, decide if it’s the right college for you. Then, complete the tasks required of you between senior year of high school and freshman year of college.
Deciding if it’s the college for you
Compare financial aid rewards
Financial aid rewards may not be the deciding factor when choosing a college, but a couple thousand dollars can make a huge difference for you in the long run. Look to see if certain schools offered you dramatically different packages. If you have your heart set out on a school but they offered you a lower package then you’d like, give their financial aid office a call to see if they can offer you some more funding.
Consider the total cost of attendance
While one school may offer you a generous financial aid package, make sure to still compare the total cost of attendance once you factor the package in. A $10,000 financial aid package will go a lot further at a school where tuition is $20,000 a year than at a school that’s $50,000 a year. Additionally, remember to factor in extra costs such as room and board.
Get the answers to all of your unanswered questions
If you still have questions looming that you haven’t had answered about a certain school, now is the time to get them answered. If you’re not sure whom to ask, call the college’s admissions office, and they’ll be more than happy to send you in the right direction.
Go with your gut
With all else being equal, your gut can answer a lot of questions for you. For example, you may be stuck between two schools on a practical level, but you may be able to envision yourself better at one school than another. To help your instinct kick in, feel free to visit the schools again, attend some classes, and talk to the students to help you make your decision.
Once you’ve chose a college
Respond to all colleges regarding your decision
No matter what college you decide to go to, you need to notify all colleges that accepted you of whether or not you plan to attend. The earlier you can do so, the better, as your decision may help students on the waitlist of a school you’ve turned down. If you need some time to think about it, make sure you know the acceptance deadlines for all of your choices.
Once you contact the school you’ve chosen, make sure to also send any required deposits and forms along with your acceptance.
Research freshman courses, meal plans, and housing options
Now some of the fun stuff comes in! You can stay ahead of the game by starting to determine which courses you might want to enroll in first, where you’ll want to live, and what kind of meal plan you’ll want. If you don’t know how to access this information yet, your new school will most likely tell you at orientation.
Sign up for orientation
Some schools have orientation right before classes begin. Other schools have it on a rolling basis over the summer. Be sure to know when your school’s freshman orientation occurs and go to it. They’ll give you all of the information you’ll need to succeed in your first year, plus you’ll have the opportunity to start meeting new students like yourself.
Start making connections
You can start making connections with other new students and current students in a number of ways. Going to orientation and visiting some sample classes are two places to start. Some schools also offer online communities for new students to meet each other, either through social media or through their own website. Check to see if your school has a program like this so you can make friends before classes even begin.
Stay on top of your high school work
The future is exciting, and it can be tempting to slack off at the end of high school once you’ve chosen a college. Fight this temptation; you’ll want to keep yourself sharp for your first year of college, and some college acceptances are still conditional upon how you do in your final semester of high school.
Once you’ve done the work you need to do to help yourself transition to your new school, then you can celebrate! Gaining acceptance to college, no matter where you go, is no small task, and taking the time to reward yourself for your hard effort is appropriate. Once you’re done celebrating though, focus up again and make sure you maintain your successful streak by having a great first year at college.