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I finished all of my college applications… now what?

Jan 12, 2022

I finished all of my college applications… now what?

Congratulations on submitting all of your college applications! Now that you have spent the last few months making your applications as strong as possible, you may be wondering what to do as you await your admissions decisions. Your next steps are outlined below!

Create all of your applicant portals and make sure your schools have received all necessary application materials.

After submitting your applications, you will receive emails asking you to set up portals for each of your schools. Create these accounts right away and keep a document with links to each portal and your login information for each one. Check your portals regularly, as this is primarily how your schools will communicate application updates to you. The portals will also show which materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores) each school has received and which are still missing. Additionally, most universities require you to upload a midyear report documenting your first semester grades, so make sure to upload yours as soon as possible! If a university has not yet received any materials you have submitted, contact their admissions office.

Write thank you notes to your recommenders.

It is important to express gratitude to the teachers who took the time to write stellar letters of recommendation for you! The best approach is to hand-write and hand-deliver thank you notes. Keep them short and sweet. Take some time to give the notes to your teachers and reiterate how much you appreciate that they took the time to write the letter on your behalf. It’s a nice touch if you tell your teacher you will keep him or her updated about your final college decision.

As you receive your acceptances, research each school so that you can make an informed decision come spring.

While you already started this process before applying to colleges, the research process during the winter and spring of senior year can look a little different. First, think about the technicalities, such as location and financial aid. Evaluate your offers using Collegeboard’s Compare Your Aids Tool. Which schools are offering you scholarships, and how do they compare? Secondly, look into the schools’ academic environments. Does each school offer the exact major or program you are looking for? Other components to keep in mind include housing, dining, social environment, and graduation rates. Go visit the campus if you can!

Write letters of continued interest.

If you’ve been waitlisted or deferred, there’s a way to let schools know that you’re still interested. These letters should be short and to the point, and should be sent soon after receiving the deferral or waitlist decision. Use this letter as an opportunity to provide updates on your academic performance, extracurricular activities, leadership positions, or awards. Make sure to avoid rewriting supplemental essays, straying off topic, or sending multiple letters of continued interest. Check out our complete guide to writing a letter of continued interest, here.

Finally – keep your grades up and start planning your summer!

Grades still matter! Colleges will look at your spring semester grades, and the possibility of revoking acceptances do exist, particularly should students report drastic changes in grades. In short, schools reserve the right to rescind acceptances based on declines in academic performance, so make sure to keep your grades up!

Finally, start planning for summer! Although the summer after senior year of high school won’t be included in your college application, we recommend participating in courses, programs, or internships that will allow you to explore your interests. For example, Google offers the Computer Science Summer Institute for rising college freshmen.

With these tips in mind, celebrate your time by enjoying your last semester of high school and this coming summer as much as possible. You’ve made it this far, so finish strong. We wish you the best of luck!