If you’re looking to attend college next fall, then chances are you’ve done your part by applying to colleges. The question you might be asking yourself is, so now what? How do you spend your time while you wait for decisions to roll in? We’ve got some ideas for you!
1. Stay Positive & Confident
The college lists have been made, the essays have been written, and the applications are in! After the relief and excitement wears off, some students start to feel a little weary and anxious. But try to shake that feeling away. Once the application is sent, you can’t make changes, so don’t dwell on it. You’ve worked hard in high school and hopefully will be getting positive news soon!
You, your friends and your classmates will start getting information at different times. Each college has its own timeline and review process. Stay positive – you will hear from them!
If you are really struggling with some waiting anxiety, try picking up a new hobby or start making summer plans. Focus on your mental health and well-being, and remember, no matter what happens, it will all work out. There are thousands of colleges and universities across the country, and at least one will be the right fit for you.
2. File the FAFSA
If you haven’t done it yet, now is an excellent time to submit your FAFSA and other financial aid documents. Submitting your financial aid documents will help colleges give you a clearer picture of your package when you receive your decision.
Take note and plan individual deadlines associated with financial aid applications since each school can be different.
We recommend that every student file the FAFSA, even if they don’t think they’ll qualify for financial assistance. If you need help paying for college, financial aid will be essential! But, you can’t receive financial aid if you don’t apply.
According to the Federal Student Aid office, filing the FAFSA takes an hour or less. So the question is, why not?! Again, don’t leave money on the table!
3. Hunt for Additional Scholarships
It’s the perfect time to start another round of applications, seriously! College is a substantial financial investment and many final choices hinge on finances, so give yourself the most flexibility by applying for any scholarships you are eligible for.
First, confirm with the schools you’ve applied to that you’ve completed any additional scholarship and special award forms that you qualify for. Oftentimes, the deadlines for these scholarships are near or shortly after the admissions application deadline. And sometimes there are extensions! Even if it seems unlikely you’ll receive certain awards or scholarships, it doesn’t hurt to apply!
Then, search for scholarship opportunities in your community and start those applications. Scholarship deadlines are year-round. So schedule some time each week to seek out and apply for new scholarships. Many smaller scholarships in local communities can go unclaimed and no one wants to leave money on the table. These scholarships often help students pay for expenses outside of the normal tuition, room and board, like books and school supplies, dorm essentials, tech supplies, gas, a visit to your favorite campus, and more.
4. Save Yourself from Senioritis
Senioritis is a very real thing and it can be hard to not fall into it, but be careful to not slip too far into senioritis mode, because your grades still matter. Stave off senioritis by keeping a few things in mind.
The first thing is to focus on your goals. You are still a student and still need to graduate, so check in with your teachers, guidance counselor, and whoever else you can think of to make sure you are on the right track and up to date on your assignments.
Next, set realistic boundaries with your time and energy. If you feel burnt out, don’t take on a big project that will drain you. Instead, focus your energy on the projects you enjoy and that fulfill your graduation requirements.
5. Keep an Eye On Your Mail and Email
You may have everything done on your end, but it’s possible that an admissions office may still need some additional information from you to help make the decision. So keep an eye out for any communication that comes from the admissions offices of the schools you’ve applied to.
Many colleges still send emails to share more information about the school or program you applied to so you can make an informed decision if accepted. This material has the potential to further confirm your decision to apply in the first place, or help you narrow down your choices.
6. Spend Time with Family & Friends
Application time can feel overwhelming and stressful for many students and families. Take this waiting period as an opportunity to spend time with your friends and family. If you have teachers, family and/or friends who attended college, especially any of the colleges you’ve applied to, talk with them about what their college experiences were like.
Use your support system to help keep your mind off all the what-ifs. When spending time with friends who are going through the same process, you’ll hopefully find support and relief in knowing you’re not alone!
Spending time with friends and family will not only help keep your mind off the anxiety of the waiting game but you will be grateful to have those moments in the fall when you may not be as geographically close as you used to be!
7. Follow Your Colleges & Universities on Social
Making a choice about where you’ll attend college can feel like a big decision. You’ll want to know as much as possible about the colleges on your list, so start following them now and see what day-to-day life is like for a student at that university. Doing this will increase your confidence when it comes time to make your final decision!
Nearly every college and university has a presence on the most popular social media platforms, including Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. Others may have Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and more. Do your research, especially if you don’t have a chance to visit some of the campuses you’ve applied to!
8. Relax, You’ve Got This!
Take a deep breath, it will all work out!
Take time to enjoy your senior year. Take the time to attend your favorite activities and events. Spend your time with your favorite people and just enjoy the place you are currently at in your life!