Educators, Your Students Have Applied: What Should They Do Now?
Guiding students through the next steps of the admissions process.
By Kathryn Knight Randolph
February 15, 2011
January, February and some of March aren’t just dull months in terms of weather but also in the admissions process. After months of standardized testing, campus visits and arduous applications it probably feels a bit odd for your students to sit and do nothing. They may be asking you, “What do I do now?”
Fortunately, there are a few to-dos for students to accomplish during this lull, and you can help them by simply making them aware of what should and shouldn’t be on their plate.
Tell them to fill out the FAFSA. This first “to-do” can’t be stressed enough. In order to qualify for financial aid at all, this document must be submitted. While the national deadline is June 30th, many states and schools have earlier deadlines. Your students need to know to turn in the FAFSA before all of their potential college choices’ deadlines. Also relay to students that they should check school websites or call each office to verify these dates, which typically occur in February or March.
Instruct students to follow up with the admissions office on their application. Now, be very careful with this piece of advice. Tell them it is NOT ok to call an admission officer and ask, “Have you made your decision yet?” Rather, they need to call to ensure the admissions office has all the pieces they need to make the best assessment of the student’s qualification for admission.
Suggest that they schedule a visit to the college sometime in late March or April. Remind them that final college choice decisions are due May 1st, and before that date, they may be agonizing over which school they’re going to choose. A college visit is the perfect way to solidify their choice.
It’s also a great time to visit financial aid offices. If their family is experiencing unusual financial circumstances that aren’t reflected on the FAFSA, this is the time and place to discuss this with a financial aid administrator.
Finally, breathe easy. While the most time consuming part of the process is over, it only gets more stressful, and students need to be prepared for that. Once the decisions come in, they will have some difficult decisions to make. What if they didn’t get into their top choice – what is their plan now? Or what if they were waitlisted – should they stay on the list or consider their second or third choice?
Students must be prepared for what is ahead in the admissions process, and you are their best source of information and reassurance. Follow up their applications as well as prepare them for the next few months with these helpful reminders.