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So, Now What? Waiting for your College Application Responses

Now that so many seniors have submitted their college applications, the hard part begins — waiting.

We know it can feel like torture to wait the few weeks or months until college decisions are released, but there are certainly some things you can do in the meantime:

• Make sure your applications are complete. The worst kind of surprise is getting a letter saying your application was not reviewed because it was not submitted properly. Luckily, colleges do a great job of notifying applicants early on if anything is missing. But this typically requires you to check your email and log in to the individual college portals. So do your part.

• Get ready for interviews. Many colleges will offer you the option of an interview with either an admissions officer or an alumnus of the school. Find out which schools offer, recommend or require interviews. If you need to sign up, please do so. And then prepare. Have parents, teachers or mentors hold mock interviews for you. Be ready to answer the most basic questions: Why do you want to attend college X? What do you hope to do with your life professionally? What are your most important activities? Most importantly, get familiar with the interview setting.

• Start thinking money. You should sit down with your parents and talk finances for your first year. Will you be expected to contribute? Will you have a credit card for emergencies? Will your parents give you an allowance each month? Will you need financial aid to cover personal expenses? If you know money will be tight, this is a great time to get a job. Stores are always looking for extra holiday help and with some luck, that temporary job could become one that you have until you leave for school. Don’t assume that your parents are ready or able to support you throughout college.

• Consider financial aid deadlines. If your parents are applying for financial aid, do the research and give them their list of to-dos. Most forms cannot be completed until the start of the new year, but some schools will require forms with estimated numbers to be submitted earlier. This helps those schools to start estimating how much aid they can provide to you.

• Keep up your grades. There is nothing worse than working hard for three years and then having your grades tumble in senior year, damaging your chances of getting into your dream colleges. Many schools will look at your first-semester senior year grades. And all schools reserve the right to rescind your admission if your grades fall below a set criteria. The rule of thumb is no failing grades (Ds or Fs) and try to keep your GPA to where it was before you applied. If you are seriously worried about a specific class, take the steps necessary to bring your grade up. If you know that your grade is going to be a D or an F, get signed up for a replacement course immediately. Your school counselor and Insight counselor can help you figure that piece out.

• Keep up with your activities. Surely you were involved because you loved each activity. So there would be no reason for your involvement to drop. If you decide to try some new activities and as a result trim down on previous ones, that is OK. But if you wrote on your application that you will be involved in certain activities and that college calls to check up, you don’t want to give it the impression that you exaggerated or lied about your involvement. This could cause serious damage to your application.

• Try to have fun. Assuming that you are taking care of the items listed above, try to relax and have some fun — this is your senior year of high school! Find time for your friends, families and most of all yourself. Pursue your hobbies or get involved in new ones. Get the most out of senior activities. There is no better way to take your mind off of the agonizing wait than to have some fun.

You’ll be surprised to see how quickly time flies by and your college decisions will be in your hand. At that point, you will have some major decisions to make.

So until then, congratulate yourself on a job well done and make the best use of your time. Counting the days and minutes will only be more torture. Go out and live your life!

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