Congratulations! The month of May is here and your senior has weighed their options and decided on a college to attend this fall. You can check that box, sit back and relax. All the hard work is behind you. Not so fast…I wish you could ride off into the college admissions sunset with a job well done, but that is not the case. As soon as a student has decided on a college, there is a whole new to-do list. Here are a few things to consider:
Orientation-Many colleges have a mandatory orientation. An incoming freshman needs to figure out when they are and sign up so they do not get shut out of an orientation with dates that work with their schedule. If you are in the Northeast, consider that high schools in other regions of the country start school in August and are done by the end of May. Many of the orientation dates might conflict with end of year activities like prom, graduation, senior awards, etc. for a student in the Northeast. Since the orientations are required, it is important to research the dates and get signed up.
Housing-If you are planning to live on campus, you will need to take steps to sign up for housing. Some schools provide housing on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it behooves a student to get their paperwork in with their housing preferences.
Roommate(s)-In the social media age, it is common for students to go online and find roommates at their respective colleges, instead of having the college assign a roommate. If this appeals to you, find an online group and start looking for someone to live with.
Mealplan-Meal plans come in all shapes and sizes. Before you sign up for the one that offers 21 meals a week (usually the most expensive option) talk to a current student and see how often they eat in the dining hall each week. It might make sense to pay for a plan that conforms to your actual usage.
Schedule-Figure out how you should sign up for classes, when that is supposed to happen and get it done.
Tuition-Determine when tuition is due. The check that a parent writes to a college is substantial. Most people do not want to pay it early but there can be fees for paying it late. Find the due date and circle it on your calendar. Better yet, read about how I had one of my own children handle tuition in this post, “I$ Thi$ for the Whole Year?”
Summer Work-Yes, believe it or not, you might have to do some summer reading or other work, depending on the classes that you take.
Health Insurance-Many schools require you to submit proof of health insurance or pay a substantial fee with your tuition. Some schools automatically add the health insurance to your bill. Take a close look at your statement and make sure that you are not paying for something that you already have covered.
Travel Plans-If you are flying, it is not too early to book tickets. If you are driving and anticipate that you need to spend the night, think about where you will stay and make reservations. Lodging can fill up, especially at colleges in small towns.
Health Forms-Make sure that your student has had a physical in the last 12 months. Colleges have paperwork that will need to be filled out by your physician.
Placement Testing-You might be required to take a placement test for World Language, Mathematics or submit a writing sample.
Transcripts-Request and confirm that your secondary school has submitted your final transcripts to the college.
AP/IB Credit-If you have Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate scores to be considered for credit at your college, arrange to send official transcripts from the respective institutions.
If you have a senior, they are leaving in the next 13 weeks and this time is going to fly. I will amend it if I think of anything else and I will have another list of things to do as you are preparing to go in August. Enjoy!