All your hard work has paid off! You’ve been accepted to college. Congratulations! Every college acceptance is something to celebrate!

But you’re not done yet. You need to complete the enrollment process.

Once a student has received their acceptances, here is what needs to be done:

1. Review all options. Unless your student applied Early Decision, wait until they hear from all the schools to which they applied so your family knows the full range of options. When weighing multiple offers, sometimes the financial aid packages can tip the balance between two schools a student loves. May 1 is the national deadline for college admissions responses, which gives your student a little bit of time to choose which school to attend.

2. Research. Research. Research. Follow the admissions department on Tik Tok or Instagram. Find student testimonials on YouTube or through online forums. Hop on the virtual tour (again). Trying to absorb the campus atmosphere through a screen can be tricky, but colleges have established many online resources to help students decide if a particular school is right for them.

If you can, visit the top choice school or schools again—or for the first time. If you or your child hear anything that worries you, you still have time to get clarification on whether those issues are deal breakers. Your student can try to arrange a meeting with a college’s admissions counselor and get any remaining questions answered and/or ask to talk to former or current students, as possible. Most importantly, your student needs to make sure the college they attend can satisfy their wants and meet their needs.

3. Access the student portal. Most schools have an online portal for their accepted students. On the portal, schools provide information you and your child need to know to move forward in the enrollment process, including information about the enrollment deposit, financial aid offers, and student housing contracts. Instructions for gaining access to the accepted student portal are usually found in the college acceptance packet or email.

4. Track all deadlines. Read through your acceptance letter completely and thoroughly and take note of important dates. Dates to keep in mind may include:

  • Deadline to accept the offer of admission and pay the enrollment fee
  • Deadline to sign up for orientation or accepted student event
  • Deadline to apply for housing
  • Deadline to submit final high school transcript
  • Deadline to take placement exams for math or language
  • Deadline to submit immunization records
  • Deadline to file the financial aid documents
  • Note that you may need to pay the enrollment fee before May 1 to gain access to the housing portal. Housing is usually available on a first-come, first-served basis.

5. Know that college acceptances are conditional. For many colleges, an offer of admission is contingent upon successful completion of senior year. This means that if a student’s grades drop or a student’s behavior does not meet community standards, a college can rescind their offer. Colleges can also withdraw scholarships and financial aid awards for dropped grades. If a student makes changes to their high school courses (e.g., drops a class or changes levels), the college should be notified.

6. Remind your student not to post anything embarrassing or stupid on social media. Stories abound about students whose offers of admission were rescinded when they shared racist or other inappropriate messages on social media. This happens every year to at least a few students who have been accepted at schools ranging from the University of Florida to Harvard. In its most recent survey (2021), Kaplan reported that 27% of admissions readers say they look at applicants’ social media profiles to learn more about them.

7. Politely and courteously turn down an admission offer from a college to which you were admitted but won’t attend (not mandatory, but it’s nice). You can typically do so via the admission portal. Knowing that you aren’t coming, versus maybe you forgot to accept the offer, helps a college know sooner whether they need to go to their waitlist.

For any and all help with acceptances, waitlists, and denials, choosing a college, and/or with the college admissions process, contact International College Counselors. Visit https://internationalcollegecounselors.com/ or call 954-414-9986.

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