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

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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 After You've Chosen a College

  • Carefully review your admissions and financial aid offers. Make sure the information in the admissions offer is correct. For example, have you been accepted to the right term (fall, spring, or summer), campus, and academic department or program? If you received financial aid, make sure you understand the terms of any loan or scholarship you are accepting and that you understand how much you and your family will be paying out of your own pockets.

  • Formally accept the offer. Follow the instructions on your admission letter, email, or admissions portal.

  • Notify the other colleges that accepted you. Colleges want to know if you won’t be attending so they can offer your spot to another student. This can be as easy as clicking a box on the admissions website or emailing the admissions office.

  • Set up your college email account. Once set up, use it for all your college communications.

  • Ask your high school to send your final transcript to the college. Keeping your admission depends on keeping up your grades.

  • Sign up for freshman orientation. Many colleges also offer "pre-orientation" experiences to help new students get to know each other, such as backpacking trips, volunteering, or travel.

Look for Important Documents from Your College

Carefully read every e-mail, text, or letter you receive from your college. Share this information with your parents, especially if they will be making payments or deposits on your behalf.  Here’s some of the information you can expect to receive.  

  • Confirmation of your final financial aid award.  Indicate 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.

  • 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.

How to Prepare for a Great Freshman Year

Over the summer, you’ll have more time to lay the groundwork for your new college life. Here are some tips.

  • Discuss logistics with your parents. This includes banking, transportation options, and what to pack for college.

  • Start following the college on social media. You’ll be looped into campus news and events for freshmen, and start connecting with your classmates.

  • Look into work-study. If you qualify for work-study, find out when you can begin applying for positions on campus. The best jobs often get snapped up quickly.

  • Get in touch with your roommate(s). Discuss dorm room décor or arrange to meet in person if feasible.

  • 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 early. 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.