It can be difficult to stay on track during the lengthy college admissions process
. But now, more than ever, it’s important to focus on your future and think about what you’d like in a college, despite where others would like for you to go.
As the college search winds down, here's a useful college checklist high school seniors
can utilize during the month of April.
Schedule Final College Visits
If you can, schedule one final college visit
to the college you’ve decided to attend. You can use this time to clarify any questions you may have regarding what the school offers in terms of financial aid, classes, campus life and other general requirements.
As you’re walking around, seriously think about if you can picture yourself living there and studying there on a daily basis for the next four years. If you can’t, you still have a few weeks before College Decision Day to choose a new college.
Compare the Costs of Each College
If you haven’t already, speak with your family about your college budget. Understanding budget realities is very important in the decision process and will help avoid unnecessary financial issues in the near future.
List out the total costs for each college you’re seriously considering, taking into account any scholarships and financial aid
you’ll be receiving.
Compare the list to the budget decided upon with your family. How do the two compare? What will your debt amount be at graduation? Does it seem as if any of the schools on your list are completely unrealistic? If so, you may want to reconsider those choices.
If you need any clarification on the costs of attendance, call the financial aid offices at the college you’re considering. They are there to assist you in the process.
Choose Your College by National Decision Day, May 1
May 1 is the deadline to make your decision and finalize it by sending in your enrollment deposit. This will lock in your spot at the college or university you’ve chosen.
If you do change your mind in a few weeks’ time, you can opt to attend another college, if they have availability. You will not receive your deposit back from your first choice, and your second choice college will require a deposit as well. So think carefully before making these decisions.
If you’re on the wait list
at a college, you do have to submit an enrollment deposit by May 1 to a school that has admitted you. However, you can switch to the school that waitlisted you if you make it off of the wait list over the summer. Again, no refunds will be given on the deposit to the school that originally admitted you, and you will owe the waitlist college a deposit too.
Colleges will not grant any extensions to the May 1 deadline while you wait to hear back from any schools you've been wait-listed at, so your best option is to submit your enrollment deposit and switch if you are admitted.
Let Colleges Know If You Decide Not to Attend
Just as with any formal RSVP note, it’s proper etiquette to let colleges know if you are attending or not. The process of declining may depend on the college, though. Some have a certain protocol, while others will accept a simple letter or email.
In the letter or email, let them know you have decided upon another college and include a thank you. It is your choice whether or not you’d like to reveal which university you will be attending in lieu of theirs.
Write Your Thank You Notes
Remember everyone who helped you throughout your entire admissions process and thank them! Think about the teachers, coaches and counselors who wrote letters of recommendation
for you or guided you along the way.
A thoughtful, hand-written note will show them your appreciation for their efforts. Include your final plans within the letter, as well as your gratitude for their help and guidance.
Your Final Transcripts Matter
Although it sounds funny, senioritis is real! We've also written about the fact that colleges can, and will, revoke their admissions offers, if necessary.
They ask for your final transcripts for a reason, so make sure they are up to the same standards as when you applied. Keep in mind that what you do both inside and outside of school can impact your college career.
Read Any Mail and/or E-Mails Your College Sends
At this point, all correspondence between you and your future school will be important. It’s where you’ll find out about orientations, housing options, class registration, and other important deadlines!
While this may seem like an information overload, we know you can handle it. Take the process day by day and enjoy the rest of your high school experience because college move in day will be here before you know it!
Continue Your Scholarship Search
So often, students believe that the scholarship search
is over once they’ve been admitted and committed to their college, but that’s far from the truth. There are thousands of scholarships exclusively for college students.
With that, students should continue the scholarship search throughout April and May – as well as through their senior year of college. After all, every dollar won through a scholarship opportunity is one less dollar you’ll have to pay back after college graduation.
Continue your scholarship search right here on Fastweb.