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You've Decided on a College. What's Next?

What do you need to do after you've picked a college? Here's what to expect and tips for getting off to a great start as a college freshman.

Your years of herculean efforts have finally paid off. Congratulations! Just like that, you are starting your new college life. What's next?

What to Do As Soon As You've Chosen a College

If you are 100 percent convinced that this college will be your college, secure your spot by sending in the enrollment deposit. Your admission letter will include instructions for doing this. Here are two more steps you should take at this stage.

  • Notify the other colleges that accepted you. The easiest way to do this is to send an e-mail to their admissions offices.
  • Look for a message from the college containing your campus e-mail address and PIN. You should use this e-mail address for all your college communications.

Then Get a Grip on the Rest of Your Senior Year

Keeping your admission depends on keeping up your grades. Colleges can and will rescind your enrollment if you celebrate by letting 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.

What to Do by Graduation Day

Colleges require evidence that you kept up your grades through senior year.

  • Ask your high school to send your final transcript to the college. All colleges require this.
  • Arrange for your SAT, ACT, and other admissions test scores to be sent to the college, if you did not submit them earlier.

Start Looking for Important Documents from Your College

Carefully read every e-mail, text message, or snail mail you receive from your college. Share these messages with your parents so they can support you (and write the checks, in some cases). Here's what to expect.

  • Financial aid 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.
  • Housing and meal-plan forms. 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.
  • Class registration instructions. You'll need to sign up for fall classes. You might also receive assignments to complete over the summer or be required to take placement tests.
  • Freshman orientation sign-up. An introduction to the college is offered by most colleges for new freshmen and their families. These events showcase the college and its programs. Many colleges also offer "pre-orientation" experiences that give new students a chance to interact with other frosh through activities, such as backpacking, volunteering, and travel.
  • Medical records and coverage. Your college will want to see your immunization record and possibly require a physical exam. It may also offer you medical insurance.
  • Bills for room and board, tuition, and other fees. Your college will expect you and your family to pay what you owe by the beginning of each semester or quarter.

Tips for Getting Off to a Great Start

  • Discuss the logistics of your new life with your parents. This includes banking, transportation options, and what to pack for college.
  • Get in touch with your roommate and start planning your dorm room furnishings. Be sure to look up dorm room rules before you acquire anything.
  • Give the college permission to talk to your parents. This helps your parents get information about your college bills and lets the college communicate with them if there is an emergency.
  • Plan to arrive on campus as early as possible. This will give you maximum time to set up your room, shop for needed items, get to know your roommate(s) and hall-mates, and learn your way around campus.

What's Next?

For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

Learn how to qualify for a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit Card


1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

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COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

Activity
CD$
×
Congratulations!
+ CD$
You just earned COLLEGEdata Dollars!
Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.