For the past few months (or perhaps weeks if you are last-minute), you have been carefully working on your college applications. You have written your essays, sent off your test scores, and clicked the ‘send’ button. Now what?
This is a good question and something that we get asked fairly frequently. As much as we would like to say “don’t worry about it…just wait for your decision!”, this is simply not true. Here are a few “next steps” once you have submitted your application:
Demonstrate interest (when appropriate)
Demonstrated interest can be an important part of the admissions process at many colleges and universities. Once you have submitted your college applications, there are still some other things you can do to “show the love”:
- If the college offers an interview (even if it is an optional interview or an alumni interview), you should 100% take them up on the offer. Here is a quick guide to help you rock your interview and here are 15 interview questions that you can prepare for.
- Follow-up with the admissions office at the specific schools. Preferably, you should get in touch with the specific admissions officer responsible for your state/high school (many schools have web pages like this). This can be a quick note to reiterate your interest, provide any updates on your senior year, etc. A brief paragraph should suffice. This is not necessary for schools that do not count demonstrated interest.
Don’t forget about financial aid and scholarships
Remember, paying for college is the second hoop you must jump through (after getting admitted of course). If you are planning on applying for need-based financial aid, you can get started with these tools. You will also need to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA) which is due by February 15th. You do not need to wait for new tax return information to come in as the FAFSA will ask you and your parents to use “prior prior tax information” (from two years ago).
Some schools also require the CSS Profile or other forms and the deadlines can vary (and many of them are due when the application is due). We always recommend that you refer to the individual college’s financial aid website for the most up-to-date information.
Keep up the hard work in the classroom
Senior year grades are still very important (oftentimes the most important grades), so you can’t slip up. Your guidance counselor will be sending your first term grades to the colleges as part of a midyear report.
Thank your recommenders
As someone who has written many college recommendations, I can say that they take a lot of time. Take 5-10 minutes to write a handwritten thank you note for your teachers and guidance counselor. This is a classy gesture that will mean a lot to them.
Lastly, take some time to soak in your successes and accomplishments
This is a big deal! After four grueling years of high school, you have taken the next steps to determine your higher educational future. Your application is the culmination of this hard work and dedication. Don’t forget to take stock of all of this and be proud! Your college applications are now submitted and you should take some time to be proud of all that you have done!