Applications are in and you are enjoying that wonderful feeling of relief that comes with the last submission, but don’t put away those user names and passwords. Many colleges allow students to check the status of an application by logging into their portal. You should also check your email regularly so that you don’t miss any important communication. Don’t panic if you are notified that your application is incomplete, as the missing document is probably somewhere in their system. With the deluge of documents, it can take several weeks for the staff to get everything logged in. Still, check on any “missing” items.
Usually, you need to wait until you are accepted before applying for housing. However, some schools do allow students to submit a preliminary housing application as soon as they apply. This can be especially important at colleges that do not guarantee housing for freshmen. If you want to have the best chance of getting your preferred housing choice, make sure you apply for housing as soon as the school allows you to do so.
With financial aid deadlines looming, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) should be completed as soon as possible. Funds are limited and the earlier you apply, the better. You will find comprehensive financial aid and scholarship information at www.finaid.org. Complete the FAFSA at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Many private colleges require the CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA. Access that form through the College Board site.
If you have registered with a scholarship search engine such as www.fastweb.com, make sure you have reviewed all the possibilities. Check with your high school’s college counseling office to find out about scholarships offered by local civic groups and businesses. The amount of the scholarship may be smaller but there are fewer students competing for it. Before you rule out a $500 or $1,000 scholarship as not worth the effort, look at the application requirements. If you can complete the application in two or three hours, you are earning hundreds of dollars an hour. Put together several small scholarships and you have a nice contribution toward your college costs.
Be sure to keep up with schoolwork. Even if you have been accepted early at your favorite college, an offer of admission is always contingent upon successful completion of senior year. If your grades are significantly lower or you have lightened your course load, you could be jeopardizing your admission. Be sure to notify the admission office if you decide to drop an AP class or make any other changes to your schedule.