So much anticipation...you’re almost in college, but not so fast! First, you have to get accepted. While you’re sitting on pins and needles waiting for your letters to arrive, what can you do? Here are five productive measures to take until you receive your official notifications.
1. Check in with your schools
Confirm that the admissions offices have received every part of your applications, including essays, recommendations, and test scores. The larger or more popular the institution, the more submissions they receive. Don’t let yours be the one that got lost in the mail or eaten by a computer server. Once you have verified that your applications have been successfully received, leave the admissions officers alone to make their decisions, and move on to the next four waiting steps.
2. Apply for financial aid
Fill out and submit your FAFSA, if you haven’t already. Most students and their families can qualify for some sort of financial aid, so don’t miss out on at least trying! Apply for other scholarships and grants as well, and pay close attention to the deadlines. Try to have all of your funding ducks in a row so that when those acceptances arrive, you can have a better idea of how you plan to pay for college.
3. Finish senior year strong
Do the work. Keep your grades up. This is not the time to slack off! Universities frown upon students who forget about their studies during their last semester of high school. Depending on the conditions of your acceptance, your college could revoke your financial aid or even your acceptance if your grades slip below their liking. So, ensure you continue to go to class, turn in your assignments, study, and try hard on your tests. Make a sincere effort until that diploma is in your hand.
Then, relax! Enjoy your last weeks of high school and the summer before college. You may have known some of your classmates since preschool, and after you graduate, you may only see them when coming back home for holiday breaks. For now, take your mind off of academia and have fun with your friends.
4. Give thanks
Send handwritten thank-you notes to every person who helped you with your application process. Your teachers, tutors, admissions counselors, guidance counselors, supervisors, coaches, and others will all appreciate your acknowledgment of the recommendation letters they wrote for you, or those second-reads they gave to your application essays. Additionally, toss your supportive family members into the mix as well. They deserve gratitude also.
5. Apply to more colleges
Yes, apply again, but this time to different places. Consider the back-up schools you may have initially crossed off your list. If you have submitted applications to mostly reach schools, stay optimistic, but also create alternate plans for success. Research, apply to, and visit schools that are still accepting applications, that are likely to grant you admission, and that you would be happy to attend. Many institutions have rolling admissions, so try to find an additional school or two that might work for you.
It’s tough waiting to hear back from your target colleges and universities, but it doesn’t have to be terrible. Do something useful with your time. You’re in the same boat as tons of other students around the world, looking out for that March or April acceptance letter. This process will be over shortly, and soon, you’ll be starting the next phase of your life as an adult in college.
Mahlena-Rae Johnson is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.