Pixabay user Anne-Onyme

“Dear ____, we are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into _____ University.” Many an acceptance letter starts off this way—typically followed by a huge smile, a tear, or maybe even jumping-up-and-down-squeals of delight. Getting a college acceptance letter is oftentimes a big moment for a student, and the first step towards their higher education.

So first and foremost: Congratulations! We know you put a lot of hard work and effort into studying to boost your GPA and ACT/SAT scores, crafting your applications and essays, and waiting patiently (or not so patiently) to hear the results. Good job.

But what should you do after you’ve opened the letter and seen the good news?

Celebrate

Hard work merits reward, so celebrate your accomplishment! Whether that’s going out for ice cream, having a nice dinner, seeing a movie, or hanging out with friends—relax and enjoy your success.

Read the Letter and Additional Materials

The college you’ve been accepted into will likely send you a bit of material to peruse. Make sure you go over it and pay attention doing so. You’ll learn valuable information such as the financial aid opportunities they’ve awarded you, what program you’ve been accepted into, when classes start, where to register for courses, and next steps. This is all vital info, especially if this is the school you’re planning on attending.

Wait for More Acceptance Letters

Most letters ship out in March and April (unless you applied EA/ED in which case you could hear back from them any time from November to February). And since the average student applies to 6-8 schools, you’re likely planning on hearing back from a few more colleges yet. You probably applied to some safety schools, matches, and reaches, so you’ll have a range of colleges sending you letters soon.

It’s easy to get excited once you’ve received your first letter—especially if it’s from a school you’re really interested in—but try to wait for the other letters to come in before you commit. One may offer you more scholarships and aid than another, which can change people’s minds.

Compare, Contrast, and Debate

When you’ve gotten all (or even most) of your acceptance/rejection letters back, it’s time to start the decision process. Make a list of pros and cons for each college, and then compare them. Consider things such as college costs, location, field of study, financial aid offered, and other important factors. You’ll need to inform a college of your decision to attend by May 1st—but you likely want to decide before then.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!