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6 Things to Do When You’re Accepted to College

Two young women stand outside among large rocks and trees. They hug and smile widely.

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

Once you’ve been accepted and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s easy to want to sprint to it. But, you still have a quarter left of your senior year so, what do you do?

I caught myself asking these questions four years ago and again now as I wondered how to balance my current reality with my future aspirations. So, I’m here to give you six things that will help you look forward to a new beginning without missing the lasts of the present. 

1. Build up underclassmen in your organizations 

For a lot of us, our organizations made our high school experience, whether it was finding that core group of friends, having an outlet for our passions, or was a way to break up the mundane of classes and schoolwork. Whatever the reason for joining, we stayed because we loved it and we cared about the organization and the people that were a part of it.

During a time of transition, it may feel like you’ve grown out of your organization, maybe you’ve had to take a step back during application season, or maybe you’re more involved than you’ve ever been.

No matter what the case may be, as you look toward leaving the organizations you’ve devoted so much time to, recognize the ways you have and can have an impact. For me, that was looking at the leaders I was leaving behind.

Whether it was helping an underclassman with an audition, talking with the new dance captains on tips and tricks to lead a show choir, or creating a vision with the student leaders at my school, I searched for ways to guarantee that I was leaving my organizations and its leaders to thrive.

2. Fill out the FAFSA

Your parents or guardians have likely been nagging you on this one already so I’ll keep it brief but double and even triple check that your FAFSA is filled out and filled out correctly!

If you need help, look for resources in your high school with a college counselor or check out YouTube videos like this one that go through the process step by step.

3. Check your email and mail often 

In addition to fun swag items or the highly anticipated scholarship letters, your future schools could still be sending you invitations to admitted students days, pre-college programs, or Q & A sessions to attend.

Now, you don’t have to (and for your own sanity, probably shouldn’t) say yes to all of them but I can guarantee that there will be lots of opportunities for you to get to know a school before you commit there.

When I went through the post-acceptance process, I remember receiving floods of emails to meet up with other admitted students in the area, attend admitted students days, or even attend a deferred students day to get all my additional questions answered.

I still remember meeting some of my closest friends in college at those days; little did we know what our friendship would look like four years later. It was also a great way to network and create relationships with people who eventually chose other schools.

What To Do After Being Accepted

4. Continue to research your schools 

Maybe your future school is bad at making the first move. (Did someone say red flag?) If so, make sure to get on their websites and look for ways to connect with current students, get your questions answered, or even find an admitted students day.

As a college senior, I can tell you that I’ve loved getting connected with high school students who are interested in my school. I love talking about my experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it gets me excited to see students where I once was.

In addition to finding ways to connect, I had fun shopping around Etsy for future college apparel or looking up new restaurants in the city I was soon to be in. There are so many things you find out as you go through college but it’s never bad to get a head start.

5. Apply to outside scholarships 

Again, you probably have people harping on you about this so I’ll keep it brief but apply to outside scholarships! I know, I know, you’ve already done SO MUCH writing, and you’re still a student, but your bank account will thank you later.

It doesn’t take long to find scholarship databases or to ask your college counselor if they have lists of scholarships you can look at. Yes, some do require a written answer but I found that after you’ve answered about five different questions, you’ve answered them all and it was only a matter of slightly rewording or rearranging your ideas.

So, take that extra twenty minutes before bed and instead of scrolling on TikTok, write that answer to a scholarship essay.

6. Enjoy your last quarter of high school

And last, but certainly not least, enjoy your time! Now, you may be thinking “how am I supposed to enjoy my time when you gave me a list of five more things to do?” to which I would say, fair point.

However, I know that it is easy to either get lost in the lasts that you forget that there’s something big on the horizon or to get so focused on the future that you miss the present; it’s about balance.

When you’re at school, BE at school. Stay invested, get involved, and enjoy it. When you get home or on the weekends, carve out an hour or two to focus on what’s next.

It doesn’t require much of your time to plan ahead but it does require your attention. And listen, this is still something I’m learning as I also take the next step toward the future; it’s about practice not perfection. 

As you enter the home stretch, I hope you’re excited about the possibilities that lie ahead of you and that you’re proud of all you have accomplished thus far! YOU are going to do great things. 

Oh, and one more thing, congrats (;

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Author: Alyssa O'Connell

Alyssa is a junior at Vanderbilt University double majoring in Secondary Education and English with a minor in Italian. When she isn't writing for Niche, you can catch her on stage with her musical theatre organization, giving tours of campus or reading Shakespeare, all with a coffee in hand.