By Dr. Wanda Montanez, Director of Admissions Counseling.
Congratulations on making it to the final stages of the college process. By now, you must feel exhausted and thankful to be done with the process once you make the final decision. But, wait! You still have some work to do before you step foot on a college campus this coming fall.
Pay your Deposit
Once you make a decision to attend a particular college you must submit a tuition deposit that can range anywhere from $300-$1500 depending on the college of your choice. This will ensure that you have a spot come September! Your deposit should be submitted by May 1st unless you have made other arrangements with the office of admissions.
Notifying other Colleges
You have likely applied to more than the one institution you will be attending in September. If you are lucky, you have received multiple acceptances from colleges and have reviewed all financial aid packages to make your final decision. It is critically important to let the other colleges know that you will not be attending in the fall. By doing so, you may be opening up a slot on the waiting list for another student who is interested. Plus, it’s courteous. And, if you let colleges know you will not be attending, they will in turn stop sending you emails and calling you.
Be on the Lookout!
Speaking of email, be sure that you are checking your email and mail at least once a day. Your college may reach out over the summer to request more information from you or to provide you with important information regarding orientation, financial aid, or some other issue that requires your immediate attention. Their requests may include important deadlines for action on your part and if you are not tuned in you can miss out big time. How big? By missing a deadline or not submitting a requested document you could jeopardize your enrollment status for the fall.
Submit Final Transcripts
Your attending college will require you to submit your final high school transcript for review. They want to ensure that you have maintained your academic performance since receiving your letter of acceptance. Although this is often done automatically by your school counselor, it is a good idea to make sure that is taken care of before you head off to summer break. Additionally, if your grades have slipped since you were accepted, be prepared to be able to explain what happened should an admissions counselor reach out to you to ask for an explanation. Some students have had their acceptance rescinded after a final transcript is received due to a significant dip in their grades. Furthermore, in addition to the high school transcript, if you have taken college level courses, those final transcripts should be sent over as well. Without these, you will not be awarded credit for the college classes you have completed.
Submit AP and/or IB Test Scores
Many colleges will give college credit for AP scores or IB test scores. However, the only way to ensure the credit is given to you is to make sure the college receives your test scores. Be sure to send these out to your attending college!
Update Financial Aid
This is possibly the most important follow up item! It is likely that your financial aid is not completely final so therefore, be sure to set aside some time to update your financial aid documents and submit any forms the college may be requesting from you in order to finalize your award. If there was a change in your or your parents’ financial circumstances, you must let the office of financial aid know immediately so that your award may be adjusted. If you are like many students, the financial aid award letter played a large role in your final college decision. Therefore, make sure the financial aid office has everything they need by the appropriate deadline. Should they not receive pertinent information your financial aid may be affected. And, if you are still in need of more money to cover the college costs, you should continue to look and apply for scholarships. There are plenty of them still available even after you finish high school. Do not let them go to waste!
Submit Housing Paperwork and Deposit
On many college campuses, housing is limited. Therefore it is imperative that you submit the appropriate paperwork by the deadline to ensure that you have a room on campus in the fall. In addition, be sure to be completely honest in the housing questionnaire as this survey is used to match you with a roommate who shares similar qualities. For example, if you are not an early riser, you might not enjoy rooming with someone who is up at 5 AM! To mitigate the possibility of this happening be truthful while filling out the form.
Register for New Student Orientation
In the midst of preparing for summer vacation activities, be sure you set aside some time to attend New Student Orientation. These can be in the middle of July or a few days before the beginning of the fall semester. Either way, this is a fantastic way to become familiar with the college, its programs, the campus, and a great way to meet other students. Additionally, many colleges use this time to have students take the necessary placement exams, usually math and English. So, do yourself a favor and do not skip out. And, finally, many colleges use New Student Orientation time to have students meet with their advisors and register for courses. The sooner you can get advising the faster you will be enrolled in those important classes for the fall.
It is likely that you did not make it to the end zone of the college application process by yourself. There were probably many people who helped you whether it was writing a letter of recommendation, helping you search for scholarships, or simply proofreading your essay, take the time to thank them. Your teacher, counselors, friends, coaches, and family member will appreciate the sentiment and will want to celebrate your success with you. Plus it can be a final touch point before you head off to college in the fall.
By doing all of the things listed above you are ensuring a smoother transition to college! Take the time, meet the deadlines, and have a great first semester.