4 Things to do While Waiting For College Acceptance Letters

What should you do while waiting for your college acceptance letters

Flickr user ewvasquez2001

  • Thousands of students wait anxiously each year for college acceptance letters, but the time between January and April shouldn’t be spent idly waiting.
  • Students can tackle scholarship applications, grant applications, and financial aid requirements during this time period.
  • High school seniors also shouldn’t let their grades or extracurricular involvement slip during this time period. Colleges can and do notice, and it could make the difference between an acceptance letter and a rejection letter.

After you’ve written your last college application, you might be wanting to brush your hands together and take a long awaited break! And while you definitely should take some time for yourself, you’re not quite done yet! There are a few other things you need to be doing while you wait for your acceptance letters to arrive.

When Do College Acceptance Letters Arrive?

When college acceptance letters arrive depends on when you submitted your application.

  • Early Action and Early Decision applicants should expect to start seeing acceptance letters in mid-December and by mid-January.
  • Early Decision II applicants should get their answer by mid-February.
  • For students who applied under Regular Decision, acceptance letters should start arriving in March and definitely by April 15th.

What Should You Do While Waiting for Acceptance Letters?

Waiting for those acceptance (or rejection letters) can be stressful. You’ve put in a lot of work and effort to get here, after all. Thankfully, there are a few tasks that you need to be doing that will keep you informed about your application’s progress and get you better prepared for college in the fall.

1. Check Your Emails and Communications At Least Once A Day

Checking your emails every day is absolutely crucial, and not just for the college’s response. Admission departments and financial aid offices could request additional information or documentation before they can make a final decision. Missing these could result in loss of financial aid packages or a rejection letter.

Be sure to add your colleges’ contact information to your email and regularly check the spam folder to ensure you didn’t miss an important message.

It’s also a good idea to log into your college communications account regularly. It’s quite possible that the school will send important messages or even your acceptance letter here than to your email.

2. Complete All Financial Aid Formalities

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be completed as soon as possible if you haven’t already. Be sure to have it in by the school’s individual deadline for the FAFSA. Although the federal application technically has a deadline of June of the award year, colleges and universities need that information to determine your financial aid package. Waiting too long can result in you missing out on free money.

Double check, too, that your FAFSA account has all the schools you applied to listed. If you applied to a new school last minute, you may not have added it to your FAFSA.

3. Apply For Scholarships and Grants

Scholarships are your golden ticket to getting free money towards college so you definitely want to spend as much time as you can looking for and applying to all the awards that you are eligible for. You can apply for and accept all the scholarship money that you win. It makes every minute that you spend searching for opportunities totally worth it.

Look for scholarships online through databases, community and church bulletins, and your high school notice board. Don’t forget to check with your parents’ employers. Many organizations offer scholarships to employees’ dependents.

Many states also offer grants to its residents and students. Program availability and eligibility varies from state to state, but your area’s education office is a good starting point. Some states even have their own forms of the FAFSA that need to be completed to apply to these grants.

4. Continue Working On Your Grades & Extracurriculars

It’s easy to let your motivation slide now that your applications are all sent out. Don’t make that mistake. High grades and strong extracurriculars could be the deciding factor when a college is trying to decide between two equally ranked students. Some colleges even require you to submit a mid-year report, especially if you applied under Early Action or Early Decision.

An impressive mid-year report from your school, a recent accomplishment in your chosen activity or recognition for your recent contribution to the community could make the difference between a college acceptance, a waitlist, or an outright rejection. Don’t let senioritis get to you!

There’s plenty to do even after you have submitted all of your college applications so keep up the tempo and don’t let it slide. It can be difficult to pick up the pace later. By tackling all of these tasks now, too, you’ll have less to do later – and you could even pick up some free money in scholarships during this waiting period!

Finding scholarships doesn’t need to be like a needle in a haystack, either. Scholarship databases, like College Raptor’s Scholarship Search Tool, makes finding awards you qualify for easier than ever. Plus, it’s completely free! Check it out today to sign up and get started.

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