Senior Spring: Celebration, Final Decisions, and Thank You Notes

The anticipation and long wait on your application news is over.  Congratulations, you have been accepted to college and should be very proud of your accomplishments, taking pride in the fact that you earned your spot(s) with hard work, attention to the details, determination, and persistence. You have also learned the steps in a lifelong process (self assessment, application, writing/essay, interviewing, and following up) that you will use time and time again in applying to graduate school and/or jobs.

Seniors may also be wondering what you need to do now that your college news has been received.

May 1st College Deposit: You have until May 1st to ultimately decide where you want to attend college. Contrary to what may be communicated regarding deposits to respective colleges, you do not need to put down a deposit until then, so do not feel rushed. (Also, you cannot double deposit at schools.) This said, making a final decision on your next step can be as difficult as the application process. Armed with your college options, it is time to revisit the pros and cons list for your final choices and possibly attend an “Accepted Students Day” to take a final tour, visit specific departments, talk with academic advisors, fellow students, and visit classes.

Colleges To Which You Will Not Attend and Thank You Notes: As you contact colleges to which you were accepted, but will not attend, please thank them for their time and consideration on your behalf and acknowledge the honor of having been accepted. You are indeed appreciative of their support and the work each admission committee put into your application.

Waiting List: If you are on a waiting list and that school is one of your top choices, you should follow-up with a personal note and any additional positive information since your application was submitted. You will need to, of course, put a deposit down on a school to which you were accepted, but you will also have to “mentally” commit to your waiting list college if you are invited in. When colleges go to their waiting list, they will go to those candidates who have shown the greatest interest and commitment to coming. This means you will have to be ready to act. Unfortunately, this can typically mean there is little to no scholarship aid left in the budget  so weigh that with your present admits and aid packages.

Deferring For A Semester or Year: If you plan on taking a Gap Year for whatever reason(s), you should call the college to which you wish to defer and ask specifically how they handle a deferral. Typically, they ask you to submit a letter (email) stating your intentions with a deposit. They will then save you a place for the following year.

Financial Aid Awards: With an acceptance, you may receive a financial aid package, if you applied, or merit award (outright grant money). It is very important that you carefully read all the information that you received from respective colleges and keep it organized. You should feel free to call the financial aid office for any clarifications and/or questions. When you receive a financial aid package, it is important to determine the total amount you will have to pay for each school. If the aid package at your first choice is not as strong as some other packages, you have the right to appeal. Generally, schools have an appeal process articulated on their website.

Finally, have you thanked your parents, teachers and college counselor for their unconditional love and support over the past four years, but particularly in the last year? Each one of them has “stood the watch” with and for you. It is time to thank them for all they have done.

Again, congratulations to you for your accomplishments and selection to YOUR best college.