May and June bring high school caps and gowns. For college-bound high school seniors, spring and summer also bring important deadlines in the college enrollment process. So after years of careful course selection, of prepping for and taking standardized tests, and of extracurricular activities chosen and performed with an eye to college admissions, it’s time to finish the college process.
Finish the College Process in 6 Easy Steps
The sequence and some details of the six final steps in the college enrollment process vary, but each is significant. The first is taken before Pomp and Circumstance sets the mood for your graduation, and the last one plays out not too long before you open the door to your campus residence hall for the first time.
6. Put Your Money on the Table
May 1 was the deadline at many colleges for the enrollment deposit, which typically is a nonrefundable portion of the first semester’s tuition. Whatever the deadline, commit as soon as possible to ensure there’s a spot for you in the freshman class.
5. Make Sure Your Final Transcript (and All Other Paperwork) Is Sent
It’s time to talk to your high school counselor about shipping your final transcript to the college you chose. And yes, there might be a small fee.
You usually can request a sealed transcript and deliver it yourself, but don’t open the package. Colleges won’t accept transcripts that have been opened.
And although it is too late to apply for most scholarships or aid packages, there are exceptions.
4. Take (and Take Full Advantage of) Advanced Placement Exams
That final push for top-notch Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate grades can save you the time and expense of freshman-year classes they can enable you to skip.
It pays to ace your Advanced Placement exams. Even if the grades don’t translate to college credits at the school you have chosen, the work will prepare you for college-level academic challenges.
3. If Offered, Take College Placement Tests
Most colleges offer placement tests, and they can be extremely helpful in registering for classes. The tests are evaluations that help you avoid classes that are over your head or not enough of a challenge.
Try to take the placement tests before you get too far from the classroom setting and lose your academic edge.
2. Make Your Housing Decisions
If you plan to live off campus, it’s time to finish scouting locations. If there is a residence hall in your future, study the options and make your pick. If your school accepts roommate suggestions, identify your choice and notify housing officials to optimize your shot at living with the person you have chosen.
If picking a roommate isn’t an option, don’t wait until you arrive on campus to get to know the person the school is pairing you with. Contact your roommate as soon as possible. Develop a relationship through social media, by phone, or in person to see whether you will be a good fit.
1. Schedule and Attend Orientation and, Carefully Register for Classes
Orientation is a valuable college ritual that should not be skipped. In fact, orientation is mandatory at most schools. For some, it is a first real look at the campus and a soon-to-be roommate.
Orientation also is a good time to finalize, or even begin, a class schedule, explore the campus and its resources, meet people, ask questions, and sit through presentations that can take the edge of what fall will bring.
Get it scheduled early, so you can worry about less important things such as what you need to pack for the big move you are about to make.
Course requirements and offerings will narrow your choices in the first year. That doesn’t mean you can procrastinate. Seats fill up quickly, so you are more likely to be satisfied with your picks if you thoroughly examine what is available and choose early.
About Joe Emerson
Joe Emerson spent 30 years as a magazine and newspaper reporter, editor and copyeditor who turned to freelancing after 20 years with The Tampa Tribune, which closed in 2016 after 125 years of serving the Tampa Bay area. Writing and delivering valuable information remain his passion.