Some people never think of attending a community college, but just figure they must attend…
Tedious college applications, thoughtful essays, glowing recommendations, intense interviews, OH MY! The whole college process can bring about stress and anxiety for students and their families. Some try to speed up the process with early admissions, which has become all the more accessible AND competitive due to the expansion of test optional admissions.
The frenzy of fall senior year is waning for those seniors who applied to early admissions deadlines but the waiting game between November 1st and January 1 can still be daunting. Here’s a few suggestions of action steps to take until those all important decisions get released!
Finish applications to alternate schools
There’s no time to waste with admissions deadlines. If you’re waitlisted, deferred or outright denied, you’ll want another desirable choice. Although many colleges have rolling admissions deadlines, their scholarship money is finite. Applying to alternate choice schools now gives you an opportunity to be accepted in time to compete for their institutional aid.
Locate and complete private scholarships
Scholarship season is in full swing! Many private very winnable scholarships have deadlines spanning from December to April. Getting organized with multiple scholarship essays, recommendations, and a tracker with scholarship details and deadlines could help you fill out the max amount of scholarship applications. You may not qualify for a full ride (less than 1% of students in the US do) but you CAN make your own full ride through a combination of institutional aid, federal aid, and private scholarships. Scholarships can be found in multiple spots including churches, community organizations, schools, park districts, employers and more. Spread the word to everyone you know that you’re looking for them! You can also check out My College Planning Team’s Free Tools section for scholarship sites.
Check emails daily
As a high school counselor for over 10 years, this is one task I can attest is a generational curse. My seniors don’t check their emails enough and often miss amazing opportunities from their colleges of interest like elite scholarship opportunities, internships, honors programs and more. Check your mail too!
As much as you deserve to chill after all that hard work, colleges, especially competitive ones, may want to see your semester 1 grades. Admissions decisions can be rescinded if your academic record takes a sharp decline. You can also take this time to improve your academic standing even more or take/retake standardized tests in case you want to appeal an admissions decision.
Discuss your plan with family and get ready to appeal financial aid
One advantage to early application deadlines is you also get a glimpse of your financial aid situation much sooner, giving you and your family more time to discern what your best fit is, holistically. It also gives you a window to appeal your financial aid if your choice college is a good match but a poor financial fit. My College Planning Team offers the free webinar “The Art of the Appeal” as well as free consultations to help you decide on your college and career needs.
Much like a professional athlete or artist, the college admissions process requires you to give your all, not only in one game or performance, but with the end in mind. Focusing your efforts on these 5 tasks can make the most of what can seem like a dead zone after your early applications are submitted. Winning the waiting game is in your reach!