Congrats! The envelope you’ve been waiting for came in the mail, and the letter said exactly what you’d hoped. You got in!
You might have spent months or weeks crafting the perfect personal statement to set you apart from other applicants. You waited, hoped, and dreamed that this day would come, and it finally has! Everyone has been talking about where they’re going to college in the fall for a while now, and it’s finally time for you to join the discussion. Go ahead, brag a bit!
After the excitement and celebrating has settled a bit, chances are you’ll fall in to one of two camps. Either one, you’re chill and know the hard part is over, the rest is a breeze and everything will fall into place. Or two, you start to panic because there are 1,000 things you have to do before you move to campus in the fall. Finding the happy medium between these two states of mind will be key.
So, here’s a list of 10 things you need to do after getting your acceptance letter(s).
You got in–it’s time to celebrate! Getting into college is a big accomplishment. Make sure you take the time to bask in the glory that accompanies the “Congratulations! You have been accepted to XYZ University!” letter.
Give yourself an evening to call all your friends, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. Go out for supper or ice cream. You’ve earned it. But remember, you do have to come back down from Cloud 9 eventually.
2. Weigh your options
After a bit of the excitement has worn off, it’s time to seriously think about where you’re going to attend college in the fall. This can be really difficult if you’ve been accepted to more than one school. Unless you already know 100% where you want to go, I recommend creating a comparison chart.
Consider these things:
- Financial aid packages
- Where the schools fell in your initial ranking
- How close to home are the schools? (and how do you feel about this)
- What will your life look like on that campus?
3. If you haven’t already, file the FAFSA and start applying for scholarships
For those of you graduating this year (Class of 2016) you should file the FAFSA, ASAP if you have not yet already done so (find out how to complete the FAFSA here). This is how you will receive government aid for college. Students in the Class of 2017 and beyond–you can actually start filing the FAFSA this coming October, which is a big change.
In addition to the FAFSA, you should also be searching for scholarships. College is extremely expensive. Try to find as much free money as you can. Start by checking out all the scholarships we have posted on our website. Talk to college financial aid departments too. Some schools have scholarship weekends where admitted students are invited to come interview and compete for large, or full-ride scholarships.
4. Accept admission and pay the fee
After you’ve weighed your options and looked at how much the next 4(ish) years of your life will cost you, it’s time to commit!
Unfortunately, there’s almost always another fee that has to be paid at this point. You’ve paid to apply, and now it’s time to pay to accept admission. The good news is, after this point, you’re in and the fun can begin. This fee is usually used to hold your spot in the incoming freshman class. Part of it might also go toward your housing application. You should expect to shell out around $200 for this.
5. Tell your school counselor
Once it’s official, or if you haven’t already, make sure you let your school counselor know the exciting news!
Some schools have a big map in the hallway showing where your fellow classmates will be heading off to college in the fall. Others will have charts listing colleges seniors are attending and majors they’re interested in pursing.
This is the best part of senior year. The hard part is over, the decision has been made.
6. Apply for housing
Once you have accepted admission, it’s time to apply for housing. Do you want to live in an all freshman dorm? How do you feel about co-ed housing? Keep in mind that the sooner you apply for your housing assignment, the better your chances will be of getting your first pick.
Another thing you need to consider is who you want to live with. Generally speaking, it’s best if you do not live with your best friend at college. For some reason, this can turn out okay for guys, but when girls do it, it can ruin a relationship really quickly. Plus, if your BFF is going to the same college as you, it’s nice to have somewhere to escape to when your roomie is driving you crazy and you just need to get away for a while.
Colleges usually have some kind of a questionnaire for you to fill out if you’re being randomly paired with a roommate. They’ll ask things like “what time do you prefer to go to bed”, “when do you usually study”, and more logistical things like smoker/non-smoker.
If you’d prefer to pick your own roommate, social media can be a great way to do your research. This is a time where I would highly recommend doing a bit of creeping. If you see something you’re not sure about, talk to the person. While a picture might be worth 100 words, remember that you don’t always know the context and there may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for why Susie was running around with spaghetti all over her head at 4 am on a Tuesday morning.
7. Go to admitted students weekend
If your school offers an admitted students weekend, make sure you are able to attend. This can be a great opportunity to meet your fellow classmates. There are usually fun things planned on campus for that weekend too, so take advantage of the free entertainment.
Admitted students weekend can also be a good way to pair up with someone if you haven’t found a roommate yet. You’re both new to the scene, and experiencing firsts together can be a great bonding experience.
8. Sign up for orientation
Classes in college are first come, first served. If you’re attending a large college or university, chances are they will be offering more than one orientation session throughout the summer months. Try to sign up for the earliest one possible. Students who go to the first session have the first pick of classes, and students who don’t go until later may find that the classes they were hoping to register for are already filled.
9. Have your final transcripts sent
Check with your school counselor to see if you need to remember to request a final transcript to be sent to the school you’re attending in the fall. Sometimes you can request these early in the year and sometimes your counselor will take care of it for you. What you don’t want is to get to campus in the fall and not be eligible to attend classes because your final transcripts were never received.
10. Enjoy your summer!
Do something fun before heading off to college in the fall! You’re going to be busy non-stop for the next few years, so enjoy the down time while you have it.
Having said that, I would also recommend having a summer job. You’re going to need a bit of cash come fall for things like pizza, and 2 am Panch runs. Working during your first semester of college might not be the top thing on your list of priorities, so set yourself up with a bit of a cushion.
And last, but definitely not least, begin pondering things like what you’re going to major in, what clubs you want to join, and everything else that comes with college as your laying by the pool, sipping your lemonade.
If you’ve checked each of these boxes, you’re well on your way. Good luck this fall!