The end of the first semester of senior year often comes with exciting news—early college acceptances! After months of slaving away on countless personal statements and applications, seniors often see December (and the months following) as a breath of fresh air. And although a lot of the work and stress is over, there’s still quite a few things to get done before the end of the school year. And, as a recently forgetful high school senior, I’ve compiled a starter list regarding what to do once the acceptances have gone out.
College admissions can be a touchy subject, especially around fellow classmates. You should be proud of your acceptances (seriously, congratulations!), but be aware that not everyone got into the schools you did. A “safety” to you could have been someone else’s dream school.
Send Thank You Notes
Getting into college isn’t a one-man job, so be sure to write some thank you cards to your teachers, guidance counselors, college admission officers, and anyone else who helped you along the way. Let them know you appreciate everything they’ve done for you!
If you’re at the stage in your admissions where you’re between schools, it’s important to get more information. Consider things like financial aid packages, housing, what the school offers to your major/career study, and how you feel about the school overall. Another great option, if possible, is to revisit (or visit) some of the schools that you’re really stuck between now and see if you still feel the same way. The opinions that you had a couple years ago (or even a few months ago) can vary from how you feel now, so take another look at things!
One of the best ways to stay up to date with your college’s deadlines, events, and everything else in between is its class facebook group. Since it’s full of other potential freshmen, you can also get a feel of what the incoming class will be like. Likewise, you can often find student blogs and publications online. And, if visiting a college isn’t possible, you can also get in touch with its admissions office and see if you can talk with a recent graduate or current student regarding any questions you have.
Accept Your School (and Reject the Rest)
Once you’ve accepted an offer of admission, it’s super important to let any other schools who offered you admission that you’ve decided not to attend. Once the school knows, they can offer your spot/financial aid to another student. Don’t delay on rejecting colleges you especially know that you have zero interest in!
Stay on Top of Paperwork
I honestly missed a few deadlines that I shouldn’t have. Once I received my early action acceptances, I figured that was that until the end of my senior year (I was so painfully wrong). Keep up to date with your school’s website, emails, and updates, so you know when to turn paperwork in by, whether it be housing requests, financial aid, inoculations, deposits, or really anything else that your college may throw at you.
While I don’t actually mean that you should whip out your suitcase and start throwing all of your clothes in, it is important to start making your list and stocking up on necessities. Buying or ordering all of your stuff at the beginning of the school year often comes with more stress, less time, and a big bill. Talk to your parents and future roommates about microwaves, mini-fridges (my student apartment has a grand total of four and a full-size fridge to boot), and other things that can most definitely be shared. Start buying some necessities now and put them away for later (face wash, toothpaste, pens, laundry detergent, etc). You can also start listing out things that you want to pack now and may forget later, like a small toolkit, earplugs, or a stapler—all very useful things, by the way.
Acceptance to a school is, more often than not, a conditional offer, which means they can rescind their offer if they feel the need to. Colleges will want to see your final transcript (often before you can finalize your registration for classes), so keep working! If you’re taking any classes that can count towards college credit, stay on top of them! It can be amazingly useful to have more credits under your belt when you go to college, especially if your college has a credit cap. You may also get small bonuses like being able to register before other freshmen if you have enough credits.
Enjoy Your Last Months at High School
With so much going on, the last months of high school can come and go before you know it. Take the time to enjoy being a senior (and the free textbooks that come with that), your friends who may go to opposite ends of the country or world, and family. This is the finale of your high school career! Have fun, and enjoy what’s left of it!