Congratulations, high school senior (and parent or guardian)! You’ve been accepted to college.
All the studying, essay writing and more paid off … and now, you can sit back and relax and think about graduation.
Well, almost. There are still a few (easy and fun) things left to do before school starts.
Officially Accept the Offer of Admission
While you can accept your admittance any time, you have until May 1, National College Decision Day, to commit officially.
There are several places to find instructions for accepting your offer of admission:
- Your admission letter
- Your school’s website — for example, here’s the information for Stanford and the University of North Carolina
- Your student portal, which most students joined to submit their application and check its status
Typically, you will need to submit a deposit when you accept your offer of admission — usually non-refundable. If you have qualified for financial aid or can’t afford the fee, check with the admissions office to see about having the deposit waived.
Find Out About Housing
If you’re planning to live on campus, you’ll need to register for housing. Most schools will have you send in a housing deposit with your acceptance.
Find out the dates for registration. Some schools are first come, first served, which can be important if you want a certain type of housing or have a roommate already selected. Others will have you fill out a form with your dorm preferences.
Choose a Roommate — Or Don’t
If you have a pal you want to room with, great. But if not, that can be even better. If you choose to have a roommate you don’t know — and your friend does the same — that can be a great way to make new friends. All of a sudden, you could have twice as many friends.
Some students try to meet potential roommates on a roommate matching site sponsored by the school or social media, and others decide to go totally random with a match chosen by the housing department.
There are success stories both ways — some people met their BFF through a random match, while others ended up finding that the person who seemed so dazzling on social media was anything but IRL. You really can’t go wrong; just keep an open mind.
Oh, and don’t be tempted to lie on the information sheet the university uses to match potential roomies. If you really are a night owl but say you’re an early bird, it could be a long year if you’re paired with the opposite.
Make Sure Your Financial Aid Is Squared Away
Most people have already filled out the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, but if you haven’t, now’s the time to make sure all your financial information is up to date.
There also might be additional scholarship opportunities for incoming freshmen, so you’ll want to make sure you apply for anything applicable.
You also should accept any awards you’ve been offered so they can be applied to your student account.
Join the University’s Facebook Group
Seriously. Most schools have a vibrant Facebook page for incoming freshmen, where students tell a little bit about themselves, maybe to find a roommate or just find others who might live close by or play the same sport. They go to Facebook to make the introduction, then get to know each other over Snapchat or Instagram.
And, parents and others, great news: There likely is a page for you, too, where you can seek answers to burning questions like whether you should rent or buy a dorm fridge.
Keep Watching Your University Portal or Email
Many schools will have you register for an official university email address (the kind with a “.edu” ending) that will be the one you can use for all ongoing personal and professional contacts. Often, they’ll also use that address to send important information— from orientation dates to how to get football tickets — so check it regularly.
Register for Orientation
Most schools will hold orientation sessions during the summer for students to meet future classmates, learn about residence hall life, take any necessary placement exams and most important, register for classes.
So find out when registration opens so you can choose the session that works best for you.
Find Out About Activities
Most activities will start once you’ve arrived on campus, but if there’s a particular club sport you want to be involved with, it can’t hurt to find the website and reach out to see if there are any summer activities you should know about.
If you’re interested in Greek life, many schools hold rush, the period when you can consider joining a fraternity or sorority, the week before school starts. Often, you have to register in advance. This is information you can find on the school’s website.
Some schools have special vaccinations they require and often require a doctor’s form to let you register for classes. Find out which ones you need from the school’s website, and schedule an appointment with ample time to get the vaccinations completed.
See If There’s a Local Gathering
Many schools organize summer sendoffs for local kids who are all attending the same school so they can get to know other students — and parents and others can meet other local families. If you have been working through a regional representative during the admission process, he or she will know about it. You also can contact your admissions representative and see if there is an active alumni chapter in your area, as often, they organize them, as well.
Shop for Dorm Décor
Before long, you’ll have an XL twin bed and a roommate. But that’s part of what makes college life fun — learning to adapt to new situations. Check out our handy list of dorm must-haves to make the transition as easy as possible.
Enjoy the Rest of the Year
After you’re all registered for your new adventure, spend the next few weeks enjoying the end of your high school career. You’ve earned it.
And if you have any questions throughout the process, don’t hesitate to call the admissions office; it’s there to make sure your transition is a smooth one.
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