As a graduate of one small college (1,000 students in a town of 10,500) and…
You’ve picked a college? Now what? Are you done, just waiting until move-in day? NO! There’s still a lot to do to get a great start off to college as a college freshman. Here are some tips on what to do next:
You’ve probably sent in your enrollment deposit already–most people did that by May 1. This is the first step, required well before you’re off to college. Be sure that you submitted the deposit for enrollment, not just housing. In many cases, they are the same, but check to be sure. Your enrollment deposit secures your spot in the class, at some larger universities, housing can be a whole different matter. Your admission letter will include instructions for doing this.
But Wait, There’s More
Notify the other colleges that accepted you to tell them you won’t be attending. Be polite. Thank them for the offer. Just an email to the admissions office will suffice.
Watch for your PIN
Look for a message from the college containing your individual student PIN and your campus email address. These are important. Write them down. Put them in your phone. Tell your parent(s) about them. You should use this e-mail address for all your college communications.
Pay Attention to the Rest of Your Senior Year
Keeping your admission depends on keeping up your grades. Colleges can and will rescind your enrollment if your grades drop. The same is true of pranks and parties that get out of control. Don’t let a warning from your high school (or the police) lead to a change of heart from your college.
Do This Before You Graduate
Before you are off to college, your college will require evidence that you kept up your grades through senior year.
- Request your high school to send your final transcript to the college. All colleges require this. Check with your high school to be sure it was done!
- If you didn’t already submit this officially, arrange for your SAT, ACT, and other admissions test scores to be sent to the college. Some colleges require an official score to be sent from the testing agency, not your high school Check to be sure.
Pay Attention to College Mail and Email
Carefully read every e-mail, text message, or snail mail you receive from your chosen college. Share these messages with your parents so they can support you (and write the checks, in some cases). These are some examples:
- Forms for Housing and Meal Plans. Look for a housing application and contract, instructions for selecting a roommate, a request for a deposit, and possibly a survey of your housing preferences. You’ll also get instructions for selecting a meal plan.
- Accept Your Financial Aid and Merit Awards. You’ll get a letter explaining your financial aid, which can be in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study, and/or loans. Decide which awards you’ll accept, and return the signed form back to the financial aid office.
- Sign up for Freshman Orientation. Most colleges will offer you this introduction to the college new first-year students and their families. This can be one of the best “launching” experiences of your college career! Don’t take it lightly, and don’t ignore it. These events showcase the college and its programs and resources. Knowing about and using these opportunities can make or break your first semester! Many colleges also offer “pre-orientation” experiences that give new students a chance to interact with other students through activities on the campus or some high-adventure-type activities!
- Class Registration. Sign up for fall classes. This might require some online placement assessments, too. You might also receive assignments to complete over the summer.
- Medical Records and Coverage. You will likely need to send the college your immunization records, proof of medical insurance, and possibly require a physical exam. If you would like to obtain medical insurance from the college, this is the time to inquire.
- Payments to be Made for Tuition, Room & Board and other fees. Your college will expect you and your family to pay what you owe by the beginning of each semester or quarter.
- Give the college permission to talk to your parents. As much as you might like to feel completely independent as you are off to college, this one can be a serious life-or-death matter. Sign off on the FERPA form, allowing your parents to be given information about you from the college. This helps your parents get information about your college bills and lets the college communicate with them if there is an emergency.