Locking Down Admission
For most high school seniors, the May 1st Candidates’ Reply Date is the end of a long college admission process and an even longer time of study and preparation.
The following are points to consider for soon-to-be high school graduates.
1. Stay focused academically. Acceptance letters state that schools are offering a place in its entering class; however, the admission committee expects students to complete senior year at the same level of performance than was evident when the school admitted the student. Many colleges, particularly those that are highly selective, monitor academic performance right to the end. In order to complete enrollment students need to submit a final transcript confirming graduation from high school. If transcripts show measurable declines in program or performance, enrollment status can be put into jeopardy as colleges are known to revoke their offers of admission—and cancel the actual enrollments—for students whose final transcripts fail to meet expectations. Resist the temptation to drop courses that are either challenging or do not relate to intended college major. Plan to do well on final exams.
2. Commit to one college. In the face of multiple options, it may be tempting to submit acceptance of an offer of admission to more than one college. This should not be done. Just as admission officers review final transcripts, they also sometimes compare enrollment rosters with colleagues at peer institutions. It is not uncommon for a dean of admission to arbitrarily withdraw a student’s enrollment at her/his school out of respect for the student’s commitment to another school. The possible exception involves the sequence of events following admission from a college’s Wait List. Should a student be committed to one college when another offers a place from its Wait List, the student may accept the latter offer. In doing so, however, it is understood that the student must forfeit the initial deposit at the first college.
3. Complete the financial aid process. Complete the FAFSA application. Even if a student is not receiving need-based financial aid, most schools will require the FAFSA in order to secure merit scholarships, unsubsidized student loans or campus work-study opportunities. Awards are made on the condition that tax returns are submitted for 2013 in order to verify the data that was reported on initial financial aid applications. Finally, report any scholarships received from community organizations to the college to be attended. These awards will be credited to the cost of attendance.