So you’ve done the hard part. You researched schools, applied, took standardized tests, and completed your courses. But now what? Here are three things you can do while waiting for an admissions decision.
- Make sure that you have submitted all of your financial documents and forms
For students that need financial aid, it is especially important that you stay on top of filling all of the required documents for each school that you are applying to. Every school has a different financial aid procedure so you should not assume that the materials you submit to one school will be good enough for all of the schools that you may be applying to. There can even be differences in public colleges versus private colleges, where many private schools require that students seeking financial aid fill out the CSS application and/or the IDOC where students provide more detailed information about their financial status and upload tax document scans and forms. Be sure to get all of your financial documents submitted at least a week before each school’s financial aid deadline to ensure that you are eligible to get the help that you may need.
- Keep focused for the rest of the year
Your high school career is coming to an end very soon. In less than half a year, you will be on your way to becoming an incoming first-year student at your dream school. All of your hard work is about to pay off big time, but only if you let it. One of the most common misconceptions that high school seniors have is that once they have applied to college, they no longer need to keep up their grades for the remainder of their senior year. This is simply not true. Many of the schools that you apply to, especially the highly competitive ones, will check up on your final transcript or midyear grades. The worst part is, they may do this without informing you or asking you directly for a report. They may ask your guidance counselors or college counselors directly for your information without your knowledge. This is why it is important to you keep your grades consistent. Similarly, many applications required letters of recommendation from teachers and other mentors that could speak to your character and potential as a college student. It is important that you spend the rest of the year either continuing to do well in any classes that you may have with those recommenders or maintain your relationship with them until graduation where you will give them your final word of thanks for supporting you. Your recommenders can take back their letters or change their opinion on you at any time so it is important that you continue to build that relationship from both an admission standpoint and also simply to be a good human.
- Start planning your upcoming summer break
If you have not already, you should start seriously thinking about how you plan on spending your summer break between graduation and your first semester at college. It may seem like it is too early to be thinking about this stuff, but if you want to get a head start on your college career and future, you should start thinking about resume and experience building. When you arrive as a first-year student at your college of choice, you may be interested in getting an on-campus job and/or applying for positions in campus offices or student government. To do most of these things, you will need to have a good resume which any career center can help you with. Most first-year students tend to have high school experiences on their resume, which is fine and valid but one way that you can stand out from the crowd of job-hungry first-year students is to have job or internship experience. Your summer is the perfect time to do this. If you are interested in learning about how to land an internship as a high school student, check out my blog post.
This may be a bit harder to do because of the current situation with COVID-19, however, there are many virtual programs and job opportunities that you can still apply for.
If a job does not seem viable then consider using this free time to network. Networking is when you build connections and relationships with friends, family, relatives, and essentially anyone who will listen to who you think you might have something in common with or want to learn more about. While you may struggle to find opportunities now, taking this time to network will allow you to have a group of people that you can look to for advice and information about future roles that would be a good fit for you. You can also seek out a mentor who works in a field or for a company that you may be interested in learning more about. From them, you can get advice about what they wish they did when they were your age or let you know about skills or opportunities you should seek out to be successful. Regardless of how you decide to spend your summer, your main goal should be to do something positive for yourself and your future.
I hope that these three tips will help get you thinking about all of the things you can do while waiting on your admissions decision. I wish you the best in all of your future endeavors.