You’re enrolling in college! Congratulations!
While you likely know many other students heading off to college, you should still be proud of your accomplishments. You worked hard, took the right classes, submitted a killer application, and got accepted!
*Cue your Bright Futures counselor’s happy dance!*
The college admissions process was a doozy. It took time and effort to build and maintain your GPA and stellar resume. But your persistence has paid off, and now you’ve chosen which school to attend. Your bright future is welcoming you with open arms!
Celebrations are certainly in order. But there are quite a few things you want to do and see before notifying the school of your decision to enroll. Now is the time to go over your college enrollment checklist and prepare for your next chapter.
Top 10 Tips For Enrolling In College
We know you are excited and proud of your accomplishments, and we are too! But before you submit your enrollment deposit, be sure to go over this checklist closely.
1. Visit The Campus… Again
If you’ve been following Bright Futures’ blogs or social media, then you know how we feel about campus visits. We are big fans!
Putting your feet on the ground of your prospective college is the best way to really imagine yourself as a student. Even if you’ve spent time on the campus already, we encourage you to go back for a second or third time if possible.
Additionally, schedule an overnight stay to get a realistic feel of life in a residence hall. Then, eat in the dining hall. And spend an afternoon exploring the campus. This will help you confirm that you are very comfortable with your decision to enroll at this college.
2. Research Housing Options
Did a certain dorm or other housing option dictate your decision to attend a certain school? If so, then make sure it is still available. Dorms close, go under construction, fill up early – you name it, we probably have a story about it.
Furthermore, not all colleges guarantee housing for incoming freshmen. That’s a shocker to far too many. Plus, popular housing facilities fill up first, and the other options may not meet your needs.
3. Understand Your Financial Commitment
Part of becoming an adult is truly understanding your finances. And before you enroll in a college, it is imperative that you know what you are signing up for financially.
So prior to enrolling, break down your first year “total cost of attendance” and find out how much of that responsibility falls on you. Moreover, take steps to get your best financing package. This can include FAFSA, CSS Profile, merit scholarships, individual department scholarships, and more.
If the financial aid offer doesn’t meet your needs, confidently appeal the offer.
Did you know Bright Futures can help you and your family navigate financial aid opportunities? Contact us today to learn more.
4. Double Check Your Special Interest Requirements
Does your desire to attend a specific college center on a special interest or program? Don’t assume acceptance into the college means you’re accepted into the special programs. Many programs, including art, music, dance, ROTC, and theatre, typically have additional applications and requirements.
Additionally, highly selective and popular majors usually require supplemental applications. Reach out to a college admissions officer at the school, a professor in the department, or alumni for advice and direction. Make sure to leave no stone unturned!
5. Review & Advocate For Your Accommodations
If you have learning differences (LD), then you should only enroll in a college if you understand the special accommodations offered and if they will meet your needs.
Otherwise, this might not be the school for you. This is an instance when referring back to the Birkman and practicing self-acceptance will truly benefit you.
All students, not just those with LD, should enroll in a school that has an environment catering to student success. Don’t dim your light by attending a school that won’t propel you into your bright future that awaits.
Do you need help deciding which college best suits you and your needs? Bright Futures can help! Contact us today.
6. Closely Read Your “Intent To Enroll” Contract
Your acceptance letter from your college of choice included a contract. Read it. Then, read it again even closer. Just like finances, you need to know what you are signing yourself up for.
Pay close attention to the options and rules. See if the enrollment deposit is refundable. If possible, use a credit card for payment so the credit card company can help get you a refund if you change your mind about where to enroll.
7. Only Enroll In One College
When the acceptance letters start rolling in, you probably feel on top of the world. As you should! All your hard work paid off, and now multiple schools are vying for you to join their ranks as a student.
Here’s one of those fine print details you (hopefully) saw when closely reading your “Intent to Enroll” contract. Most schools stipulate that upon enrollment, you are only enrolling in one school. That means that if you enroll in more than one college, you might forfeit your admission status at all schools.
Rather than being quick to enroll in each college that grants you an acceptance letter, take your time and make the best decision for yourself. However, keep an eye on deadlines because you likely have an allotted amount of time to respond.
8. Pencil National Decision Day Into Your Calendar
Keep in mind that May 1st is National Decision Day. Plug it into your phone with alerts set to remind you weeks ahead of time, a few days before, and on May 1st.
Furthermore, put it on the calendar on your wall. Ask your parents to pencil it into their agendas. Don’t let this day pass you by!
Additionally, finish all research, cross every t, and dot every i ahead of time so you’ll be ready to enroll on May 1st.
However, if you have some deadlines issues, call the school(s) you are considering and ask for additional time. Explain why you need more time and how much you need. And try to do this before May 1st if possible. Simply disregarding the deadline until it has arrived isn’t a good reason, but if it’s the only one you have, by all means, let them know!
9. Notify Your “No Longer Interested” Schools
As a courtesy, you should contact the schools which sent you acceptance letters that you are no longer interested in attending. A short written note or email will usually suffice. However, some schools may request that you log in to your online account to decline admission.
They may ask why you chose to decline and what college you are choosing to attend. You’re welcome to provide this information, but you don’t have to.
We know this can be an awkward communication, so we have some tips and a template for you here.
10. Attend New Student Events
Once you have successfully enrolled in your future college, a steady stream of information on programs and events will begin to roll in. These are intended to help incoming freshmen have a smooth transition.
You’ll likely get invitations to new student receptions, pre-freshman summer programs, and new-student orientations. Accept these offers!
Attending these events will be your first real glimpse into life as a college student. Plus, you’ll feel better prepared for what comes next…actually sitting in a college classroom as a student!
Your Bright Futures Awaits. Enroll With Confidence!
Your Bright Futures team couldn’t possibly be more proud of you and excited for your next chapter.
If deciding which school to enroll in feels overwhelming, refer back to your Birkman results and contact Bright Futures. Because our goal is to help you not just get accepted into college but to choose the one that’s best for you.
Need help navigating the college admissions process? Contact Bright Futures today!
Note: This post was originally published on June 19, 2012 and has been completely revamped for comprehensiveness.