Important Next Steps After Receiving a College Acceptance Letter
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March is THE month for admissions decisions on regular decision applications. For all of you 12th graders who are waiting to hear back from colleges, your wait is almost over! Decision time is upon you!
Your college admissions decision will either be an acceptance, a rejection, or a waitlist. If you got rejected, sorry to hear that! Hopefully, there are other colleges who have accepted you, and you’ll be very happy there! If you were waitlisted, don’t give up hope! There is still a chance that you could be admitted. If you were accepted, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! You have a great college option in front of you!
Just because you’ve been accepted into college, however, doesn’t mean your college admissions process is over. There are still a few final steps you need to complete to ensure that you will be attending the college of your choice next year. For a complete list of everything you need to do to secure your college future, read on.
Think Things Over/Ask The Tough Questions
If you’ve gotten into a college, that’s great! But is that college really the best choice for you? Even if the college you were accepted to is your number one choice, you should really think hard about whether this is the college for you before you accept the offer.
Here are some things that you really need to consider before you make a final decision on whether you will attend the college you were accepted to:
- Finances: Can you and your family realistically afford this school? Are there financial aid options available to you if you attend this school?
- Location: Do you really want to live in ________ for the next four years?
- Campus: Do you get a good vibe or impression of the campus when you visit it? Do the buildings and the overall campus feel make you excited to go there?
- Friendships: Are you going to know anyone or have anyone to help you get settled if you go to this college, or are you going to have to start your social life over again?
- Career Prospects: Is this the best college to gain the skills that will help you pursue the career field you are interested in? Is the degree program that you would be entering into well-ranked?
- Traveling Logistics: How often would you be able to travel back home and see your family/friends while you were in college? Is that amount of time enough for you?
Visit (or Revisit) The Campus
Oftentimes, if a student is struggling with the decision between two or more campuses, they do another round of campus tours to help bring them some clarity about which campus they should choose. Walking around a campus as an accepted student rather than just a prospective student forces one to look at a campus a lot more critically and notice new things that you like/dislike about the campus.
Many big universities have a designated day dedicated to incoming freshman. The college will usually have all sorts of fun activities planned and have a lot of opportunities for you to learn more about the academics, campus life, and other opportunities.
Try to go to these on-campus events if you can because they will be the easiest way for you to get the most information about your prospective life at that school in a relatively short amount of time. Keep in mind, however, that the entire point of these events will be to convince you to attend the university, so the information you get may be a tad biased.
If You Feel That This Is The College For You, Accept The Offer
If you have revisited the campus, asked the tough questions, consulted with your friends and family about whether attending this college would be feasible, and you still think that this is the college for you, go ahead and accept the offer! You have officially succeeded in the college application process!
Unfortunately, we at CollegeVine can’t give you a step-by-step guide for how to accept an offer from a college. Every college has a different acceptance process, and they will always tell you how to accept the offer in the acceptance letter. Review your acceptance letter for those instructions.
Make sure that you accept the offer by the decision deadline. For most universities, decision day is May 1st. Accepting sooner rather than later is usually preferred, but if you have to wait until closer to the deadline because you’re waiting to hear from another college, it won’t negatively impact your admissions decision at all.
Usually, the college will require you to submit a financial deposit along with your acceptance confirmation response. This won’t always be due at the same time as your acceptance confirmation, but you should do it as soon as possible to secure your spot at the university and ensure that you are officially enrolled.
It is important to note that your financial deposit is not the same as your tuition. Tuition is a separate, often much larger, fee that will be required a little bit closer to when you start college.
Also, if the university in question has offered you some sort of financial aid, you will likely have to send in a separate acceptance confirmation for your financial aid package. Be sure to check with the college’s financial aid office to make sure you’re completing all the necessary steps to receive your financial aid in the fall.
Decline All Other Offers
If you’re one of those lucky students who is considering multiple college offers, make sure you respond to every college that has accepted you. Once you’ve accepted a college, you need to individually reject each other offer that you were considering. It’s not enough to simply let the acceptance deadline pass.
If you don’t accept a college by the deadline, a college will likely rescind their offer of acceptance. While this won’t negatively affect your college prospects in any way, it goes against the common etiquette practices in college admissions.
Start Preparing For Your First Semester of College
You have gone through the wringer with college applications, but unfortunately, your work has just begun. Now, you have the fun task of uprooting yourself and moving to a college campus. With that comes many logistical complications that you need to work out well before your first semester. Here is a short list of some of the things you need to start thinking about sooner rather than later so that you’ll be ready for college:
- Attending your first college orientation
- Submitting all vaccinations and other necessary forms required by the university
- Signing up for your fall-semester classes
- Creating a four-year degree plan
- Finding Housing/Roommates
- Buying everything you need to furnish your housing
For More Information
If you’re looking for some more advice on how to handle college decisions, see these previous blog posts from us at CollegeVine:
Deferred From the Ivy League? Don’t Panic–Do This Instead
Deferred or Waitlisted: Tips for Writing a Letter of Continued Interest
The Good and the Bad: How To Handle Early Decision News
Dealing With Rejection From Your Top College Choice
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