Congratulations – you were accepted! You should be very proud of all your hard work and effort up until this point in both your academic achievements and college admissions process. But, don’t stop now!
While the hard work is mainly over, there are some things you should do to ensure you can make a decision and stay confident you made the right one. The good news? Most of these tasks are a lot more fun because they involve planning out the exciting aspects of your future semester as a college freshman. Before your make your final decision…
1. Time to Celebrate!
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You’ve worked hard and you deserve to revel in your success. It doesn’t matter if it’s your top tier school or your back up. Either way, you rock, and they see that. Take time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done. All of your hard work on your applications, essays, standardized test prep
and academic performance paid off – you deserve to feel great about it!
So how can you celebrate? First, create a social media post to share with your friends and extended family that you’ve been accepted to one (or multiple!) colleges. Take a photo in your new college gear along with the acceptance letter. It will also make for a great “then and now” photo when you graduate from college.
Once you’ve shared the news publicly, plan a small celebration with your family. Maybe this is a special dinner at home – or a night out at your favorite restaurant. Whatever you decide, bring a few thank you notes with you to thank your parents, caregivers, and siblings, for any help that they provided during the college admissions process.
2. Schedule Another Tour of the Campus
Before you decide on any college, it’s a good idea to visit as many times as possible. If you’re close enough to do so, schedule another campus tour. This time around, you’ll likely discover new and different aspects you like or dislike because you won’t be as overwhelmed as you were the first time around.
Many colleges also offer admitted student open houses for students that have received a college acceptance letter from them. These open houses provide a more in-depth look at the school and its programming as well as offer the chance to meet students who were also accepted and could be your potential classmates.
If you can’t physically make the trip to your future college campus, especially during the Coronavirus outbreak
, opt for a virtual tour. Many colleges offer these on their websites in order to give students that live a long distance away a closer look at the campus. You could also schedule a Zoom call with an admissions officer to go over any questions you have or learn more about a certain field of study, extracurricular activity, or residence hall.
3. Weigh the Pros and Cons
Listing out aspects of each school and ranking them can really help you narrow down your choices. Create a list of “must-haves” and cross off any school that doesn’t meet the criteria. Then, you can weigh other aspects that aren’t deal-breakers, but are still important.
While you’re visiting campuses (whether it’s the first or fifteenth time), try to take notes while you’re there so you can be sure to remember your experiences and weigh the pros and cons afterward. Try to imagine yourself on campus. Can you see yourself living in the residence halls? Working out in the fitness center? Cramming for exams in the library?
If you have a parent, guardian or counselor that has been working with you through this process, ask them to take a look at your pros and cons lists. With their life experience, they can help you figure out which school might be the most perfect fit for you.
4. Figure Out the Finances
Before making any decisions, crunch the numbers to find out how much your cost of attendance will actually be after factoring in tuition costs, student housing, fees, books, etc. Then, factor in types of aid you may have received: scholarships you’ve earned as well as any financial aid
for which you may have qualified.
Once you’ve done some number crunching, it’s time to evaluate whether or not it’s a school you can realistically afford. Remember, you can always continue to apply for scholarship opportunities throughout your college career, too!
5. Make THE Decision...for Yourself
Easier said than done, right? Ultimately, you do need to make a decision. Just make sure that the decision is yours and yours alone – your parents, siblings, significant others and friends likely have valuable input; but at the end of the day, you’re the one who will be attending the school.
If after gathering opinions, going over the numbers, and reviewing your pros and cons lists, you’re still unsure – that’s ok. Go with your gut. Your experiences in the high school classroom, on the team, or serving in your organization have given you the skills you need to make measured and beneficial decisions. You’re totally capable of making this decision on your own.
Once you’ve made the decision, notify the school, mail in your deposit, and get ready for the fun aspects of preparing for college: finding a roommate, shopping for your dorm, and selecting your first ever college classes. Good luck!