So, you’ve submitted all your college applications, sent out your reference letters, wrote your admissions essays, and paid your application fees. Now, all you can do is wait, and that’s just as stressful as completing all your materials on time — if not more.
But once you’re done applying, there are still a few things you can do to make sure you’re ready for the next step in your education and your life. Here are six things you should do instead of stressing about those acceptance letters.
1. Visit campuses
Most colleges have on-campus events for accepted students or enhanced visits for those who want a more in-depth look at the school. These are great to attend to narrow down your short list if you’re still not entirely sure which school is your top pick.
Before you go to one of these events, you should write down all the questions you have so that you’ll remember when it comes time to speak with students, take tours or meet with faculty. That way, you’re not kicking yourself for forgetting that question you kept meaning to ask.
2. Focus on your last semester
Graduation time is coming and senioritis might start to kick in, but it’s important to end off on a high note. Since the college hunt and application process are over, it might seem like this is a good time to ease up on the studying a little bit, but that’s not a good idea.
“Remember, your current academics matter!” says Chris Helvajian, assitant director of admissions at Chapman University. “Continue to perform at the best of your abilities in the classroom and excel academically.”
Even after you’re accepted, colleges still watch and make sure that their prospective students are performing at the level they expect. You don’t want to do all that hard work to get accepted just for the offer to be rescinded after a case of senioritis.
3. Line up a summer job
Being accepted to school is great, but so is having a way to make money during the summer months — especially heading into college. If you’re going to be a residential student, it’s even more important to have some money saved for all the things you’ll need for your new dorm room. Not to mention all the books and supplies you’ll need for classes.
Getting a summer job is also a great way to beef up your resume if you plan on getting a job at school, or even for internship applications down the road. Some great jobs for the summer are camp counseling, lifeguarding, nannying, or tutoring. Or, if you’re more career-minded, you could always ask a family member if there are any opportunities for students at their workplace.
“I worked at a summer camp the summer between my last year of high school and first year of college,” says Abby*, another student at New Haven. “It was a really great decision for me because I got to have some fun and be outdoors as well as make some money. Looking back on it now, it was also a great stress reliever. I was really nervous before leaving for college.”
The best time to start applying for those summer jobs is right now, so look around and see what’s available in your area!
4. Complete scholarship applications
Unless you win a full ride to that school you’re waiting for an acceptance letter from, you’ll have to find a way to pay the tuition. Scholarships are one of the best ways to earn the money to do that.
Luckily, for students like us, there are thousands of scholarships out there that you can potentially win. “Apply for everything,” says Krystal Meijas, a senior at the University of New Haven, “There are so many obscure scholarships out there that you’re bound to find something.”
From writing essays, to getting a little more creative, various scholarships ask you to showcase a wide variety of skills. There will be a few that you’ll have a good shot at winning, and if you don’t know where to start, there are tons of scholarship databases out there that you can start looking at, like Scholarship Points, Chegg Scholarships, and Cappex. These sites offer thousands of different scholarships, and they even match you with the ones that you should apply for based on your race, gender, sexual orientation and potential major.
5. Complete your FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form that every prospective or current college student should fill out, because it determines how much money in aid you can receive from the federal government, to grants, to low-interest loans.
You never know what kind of aid the government will give you, so this is super important to complete! Make sure you sit down with a parent so they can help you, especially with all the household income questions.
6. And of course, just relax!
Stressing won’t change the results or how quickly you get them, so the best thing you can do is relax and focus on things that you can control for now.
“A lot of my teachers and advisors emphasized that this wasn’t something that could be changed by thinking about it,” Krystal says. “They encouraged me to just live life as normal because stressing while waiting was only going to make it worse.”
Hurting and applying for colleges are both super stressful in and of themselves. You’ve already gotten through all of that, so you should be proud of yourself!
We all have to go through the dreadful waiting process, but once you get that letter in the mail, it will definitely be worth it. Good luck, collegiettes!
*Name has been changed