April 19, 2012
You’re a senior in high school finishing up your last months of school. You sent out multiple applications to various colleges and universities and all of your decisions have slowly trickled in the door. So what’s next?
There are a lot of things for you to consider when deciding what school you will be investing the next few years of your life at. And the decision should not be taken lightly. I am sure you are busy visiting the colleges, visiting their websites, comparing what you have received through scholarships and/or financial aid, and asking questions left and right. And that is great.
Once you do make your decision it’s time to make the next step.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
Every school has a different process. Be sure to read through all the paperwork that you have received from each school. If you received an acceptance letter from a school, and have chosen not attend, then do the courteous thing and return the appropriate paperwork letting the school know that you are declining the offer. This will allow the admissions office to know your response and, in some cases, open up your space to someone who may be on a waitlist for your program.
SUBMIT YOUR DEPOSIT
Nationwide, many schools are looking to hear back from you about your decision by May 1st. In fact, pay attention to the response dates on your decision letters. At UMass Boston, we ask that you reserve your spot within 21 days of receiving your decision letter and no later than May 1st. You reserve your spot by returning a New Student Deposit Form(pdf) including a $200 payment towards your tuition and fees at the university. This saves a place for you in your program and allows you to sign up for orientation. (We will accept your deposit after 21 days if your program has not filled up.)
RETURN IMMUNIZATION FORMS
Often the school will have other materials that they want you to send in. For example, University Health Services provides Immunization Forms that need to be filled out and returned to the campus before the semester begins.
SIGN UP FOR ORIENTATION
After you have submitted the deposit to UMass Boston, you are then asked to sign up for Beacon Beginnings, our orientation program. Orientation is where you are introduced to the school in more depth. This often includes getting to know other students, taking tours of the campus to better understand where your classes will be and what resources are available to you, as well as receiving academic advising so you can select your classes for the fall semester.
Housing is another important thing to consider. Each school will have its own options for housing, and of course deadlines to deposit, register, and/or sign up for housing. At UMass Boston our Office of Student Housing is an excellent resource for finding roommates, rental listings, and other support. It is recommended that if you plan to use our housing office for assistance in finding a roommate or apartment, that you do so as soon as possible (preferably by June 1st) so that you can be well on your way to secure a place in time for classes in September.
Once all the big logistics are sorted, you can start shopping for school supplies, and new outfits, and dreaming about all the dreamy boys or girls you’ll meet in college….
WAIT – WHAT ABOUT THE BILL?
Once again, every school will have their own instructions. At UMass Boston, students typically receive their financial aid award letter within two weeks of receiving their acceptance letter (assuming the FAFSA has been properly completed by the deadline and not selected for verification). A student will receive instructions on how to accept his/her financial package. When our students attend Beacon Beginnings, they register for their fall semester classes. After they have registered for classes, a bill is then generated and will include a due date. Financial aid is often used to help pay the bill.
SO, IS THAT IT?
I could go on forever about the many details… but I am too verbose as it is. So research your schools, make your decision, and follow instructions!