As you hit submit for your final college application, take a deep breath of relief and congratulate yourself! After countless hours working on perfecting application answers, revising essays, and taking and re-taking the SAT or ACT, you’re finally done! So now what do you do….? 

You may feel like you’re missing something as your pace slows down, so check with each school to make sure they’ve received your high school transcript, test scores, and any other necessary materials to ensure that your application is indeed complete. 

After that, be proud of the work you’ve put in and enter the waiting period with confidence! Regular decisions will start rolling in anytime between December and April, so depending on where and when you applied, you may have a handful of months of waiting before receiving those anticipated answers. With that said, there’s no use in spending that time worrying and panicking about the future. Instead, use this list to keep you on track while you wait. 

  1. Check Your Email: Colleges will likely send your decision through an email, so it’s important to be checking it regularly. But don’t get crazy – once or twice a day is probably enough.  
  1. Financial Aid: Complete the FAFSA and any remaining financial aid documents.
  1. Monitor College Portal Accounts: Some colleges provide applicants with a student account to communicate important information and list tasks that must be completed, such as providing required application materials, updating your information, or even applying for school specific scholarships. Check these frequently to make sure you’re not missing anything. 
  1. Search For Scholarships: Though we find that most financial aid comes from colleges themselves rather than outside scholarships, searching for and applying for additional scholarships may be a good way to keep you busy while you’re waiting for college decisions. Your school guidance counselor is the best place to start, as they will likely know about local and private scholarship opportunities. There are some great research tools online as well. 
  1. Keep Your Grades Up: It may be tempting to relax a bit too much and let your grades slip, especially if you’ve already started to receive some acceptances. Don’t fall for it! Your colleges will request mid-year reports to ensure that you’re staying academically involved. If colleges haven’t made a decision, this is even more important, as they could potentially base their final decision on your mid-year report. 
  1. Stay Involved: Stay committed to all those sports, community service, or performing arts activities you listed on your applications. Or try a new extracurricular activity if you have time. Again, if colleges need to re-evaluate your application, they want to see that you’re participating in your extracurriculars because you want to, rather than just to enhance your application. Plus, filling your spare time may keep anxiety at bay during the waiting process. 
  1. Wait To Say Yes: As acceptances start arriving, resist the temptation to jump on the first yes. It’s usually best to wait until you’ve received decisions and financial aid award letters from each of your schools so that you can make a more informed decision, rather than on impulse. 
  1. Enjoy Your Senior Year! Whether you’ve loved every second of high school or you’re dying to get to college, this is your last year of college. Spend time with your friends, go to school events, and find ways to be present and soak up every moment before you head off to your next adventure. Trust me, it’s worth it. 

Until Next Time,

Megan Bugarin, College Dream Builder Consultant 

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