You put in a lot of hard work over the past four years. You dedicated yourself to service projects and passionately pursued extracurriculars. You studied for standardized tests, and when you weren’t satisfied with your first scores, you prepped and prepped again. You completed your courses with diligence and took responsibility for your academic achievement, and it paid off.
You made it through college application season, and you’ve chosen the school that you’re going to attend. You’re nearing the finish line. You can finally breathe a sigh of relief, right?
Well, yes and no. While the rigors of college applications and vying for a spot at your dream school are now behind you, (and you’ve most certainly earned a break), there are a few more important things to take care of before you post up on your beach chair and let the summer begin.
In this post we’ll outline ten things you need to do after you’ve chosen your college and before your arrival on campus in the fall. Some are absolute essentials, and others are just helpful recommendations, but all will ultimately make your transition to college smoother and more carefree. Keep reading to learn ten things you still need to take care of, even after you’ve chosen your college.
1. Send Your Decision and Enrollment Deposit by the Deadline
This might seem like a no-brainer, and it usually is, but can you imagine the heartbreak of losing your place at your dream school just because you forgot to send your college admissions acceptance and deposit back? Yeah, us neither. Do yourself a favor and make this a TOP priority. No procrastinating — do it as soon as you’re certain of your choice.
2. Decline Other Offers
While you aren’t technically required to formally decline an offer for college admission, it’s the right thing to do for a few different reasons.
First of all, the admissions committee took the time to review your application carefully and ultimately offered you a place at their school. It makes sense that you would give them the same courtesy of a few minutes of your time in return. Second, if you take the time to decline the offer, the school is able to more quickly offer your place to someone else, if they choose to do so. If the roles were reversed, and you were on the waitlist hoping to get a place at that school, you’d be grateful for timely students who formally declined their offers in advance.
3. Review Financial Aid Packages and Formally Accept Ones to be Used
Some students may have several aid packages to choose from. If you’re reviewing financial aid options, generally you should accept scholarships and grants first, followed by work-study programs, and finally loans only if necessary.
But don’t accept anything until you’re certain that you understand it. Some scholarships come with strict rules, and certain grants turn into loans if you don’t meet your side of the bargain. Also, if you’ve been offered a loan that is bigger than what you’re likely to need, you should consider asking for only a portion of it. It’s never good to over-borrow.
Once you know what package you’ll be accepting, make sure to formalize it by letting the school know what aid you’re accepting. Sometimes you do so by entering the information into an online form; other times, you have to sign and return a letter. You may also need to sign a promissory note, which indicates that you will repay your loan.
No matter what your specific situation is, be sure that you understand your financial aid package and that you take the correct steps to formally accept it, if applicable. Your award letter will contain directions specific to your package.
4. Decide on Your Housing Arrangement
At some colleges, all freshmen are required to live on campus in assigned dormitories. If that’s the case at your school, your decision is already made for you. But if it’s not, you should consider where you are going to live next year.
While dorms might be an easy option, you should also consider the cost of room and board, the rules of dorm life, and the types of shared living spaces to which you’ll have access. Some students find it is more economical to live off-campus. Others simply prefer to be more independent. And still more are content to live in dorms. Research your options and make an informed decision.
5. Put Orientation on Your Calendar
At many colleges, orientation is required for new students, and even if it’s not mandatory, it is still very beneficial to attend. At orientation, you’ll learn the campus layout, gather information about campus services, get to know other incoming students, and sometimes even register for classes.
Keep in mind that if you are attending a school where course registration takes part during orientation, you should consider attending an orientation date on the earlier side to ensure that you can get into the classes you want to take. Many schools now offer parent orientations as well. Find out if this is an option at your school and make sure your parents know about it.
6. Check Out the Course Catalogue
Even if you don’t register for classes until orientation, it’s a good idea to do some thinking about what you’re interested in ahead of time. Pay particular attention to any programs or academic tracks with prescribed prerequisites. The earlier you can enroll in these prerequisites, the more options you’ll have later on.
Also, sometimes you can choose prerequisite classes that fill other requirements too. That way, even if you later decide that you don’t want to pursue premed classes, your introductory calculus class from freshman year might still fulfill the math graduation requirement. Beyond browsing course descriptions, also consider the course schedule. If you will be playing a sport or working an afternoon job, you’ll need to schedule classes to accommodate your commitments. Having some familiarity with the schedule before you register will make the process easier in the long run.
7. Send in Your Tuition Payments on Time
This is another one that seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a fairly integral part of the process. While it’s generally quite consistent that most schools require an enrollment deposit with your formal acceptance, the date that your first actual tuition payment is due will vary significantly from school to school. Be sure that you know this date and have the money liquidated and ready to be sent by the deadline.