October means more than trips to the cider mill and Halloween; this time of year finds high school seniors nationwide checking their email regularly to see if they received acceptance into their top choice schools. But what do you do when you receive that acceptance letter or you don’t receive it? Let’s explore…

If you got into your top choice school, congratulations, you have accomplished a great milestone! But in some ways, it’s really just the beginning. After the “acceptance celebration” concludes, do the following:

  1. Ensure you have the financial aid necessary to attend the school. This means making sure any federal loans are in line, private sector scholarships are secured and monies available from the university are in process or confirmed.
  2. Start researching different class options available that are in line with your desired career path. This doesn’t mean declaring a major per se, but you should have an idea of the general industry/profession you would like to enter post-graduation.
  3. This is no time to slack off! Continue to excel both in the classroom and in the community. Just because you gained acceptance to the school, the invitation to join the freshman class come fall is not guaranteed. Keep your grades up, continue to be a contributing citizen and stay out of trouble!

If you did not get into your top choice school, it is ok (although it doesn’t seem that way initially). There are many reasons why students do and do not get accepted: essays, test scores, GPAs, volunteerism, leadership activities, sports, etc. Channel the frustration from not gaining acceptance in a way that helps you find the right school for you by doing the following:

  1. Review your essay and look for ways to improve your delivery. Did you convey intellectual curiosity, maturity, leadership capabilities and your commitment to the university? Have a non-biased person review your essay and note potential areas for improvement.
  2. Were your test scores and GPA below other students who gained acceptance? While you can’t go back and ‘fix’ your GPA, you can re-take the ACT and/or SAT. Look into practice exams and prep courses that can help you excel in this area.
  3. Was this school really your top choice? Many times students become fixated on a certain college because of its football team, a prestige program or its geographic location. Most often, these are not the criteria on which to base a top choice school. Reexamine the reasons you selected this school and make sure it is in line with the field you want to study and within your budget, then research other schools that have comparable programs and similar Cost of Attendance. Lastly, just because you didn’t get into your top choice school, doesn’t mean you won’t be accepted into other schools where you applied.

Learn more how Parros College Planning can help you gain admittance to your top choice school, here.