Stephanie Harrison » SENIOR TO-DO LIST


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Carefully review your admissions and financial aid offersMake sure the information in the admission offer is correctFor example, have you been accepted to the term (fall, spring, or summer), campus, and academic department or program you expected? If you received financial aid, make sure you understand the terms of any loan or scholarship you are accepting and that you understand how much you and your family will be paying out of your own pockets.

  • A breakdown of the college's cost of attendance (COA)
  • Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
  • The amount of your financial need the college is meeting
  • The deadline for accepting the aid offered
  • How and when the money will be disbursed
  • The academic period the award covers
  • The process for accepting or declining aid
  • Any additional documentation needed

Although your aid package may seem to cover most or all of your financial need, not all aid actually reduces your college cost.


  • Gift aid (scholarships and grants) reduces your college cost because you do not need to repay it or work for it. Look for words like "scholarship," "grant," "discount," and "award" in your award letter.
  • Self-help aid (loans and work-study) does not reduce your college cost. Self-help aid simply makes it easier for you to pay for college out of your own pocket. You will need to pay back this money or work for it.

Formally accept your admissions offer. Follow the instructions on your acceptance letter, email, or admissions portal.



Decline other offers of admission. Colleges want to know if you won’t be attending so they can offer your spot to another student. This can be as easy as clicking a box on the admissions website or emailing the admissions office.



Set up your college email account. Once set up, use it for all your college communications.



Follow your college on social media. Join social media groups for your freshman class. Also follow the social media accounts of the admissions office and relevant academic departments and clubs so you don’t miss important announcements or events.         



Ask your high school to send your final transcript to the college. Don’t let your grades slip. Deciding that you've worked hard enough for three and a half years and coasting in the second semester of your senior year could get your college acceptance revoked. It's not common, but it does happen.



Sign up for freshman orientation. You might have the option of attending orientation virtually or in person, but in either case, you should check to see if you need to sign up to reserve a spot. 



Look for important documents from your college. Carefully read every email, text, or letter you receive from your college. Share this information with your parents, especially if they will be making payments or deposits on your behalf. Here’s some of the information you can expect to receive. 


  • Confirmation of your final financial aid award. Indicate which awards you'll accept and return the signed form to the financial aid office.
  • Housing and meal-plan forms. Look for a housing application and contract, and instructions for selecting a roommate and paying your housing deposit. You'll also get instructions for selecting a meal plan.
  • Medical records and coverage. Your college may want to see your immunization record or require a physical exam. It may also offer you medical insurance.
  • Bills for room and board, tuition, and other fees. Colleges normally expect you and your family to pay what you owe by the beginning of each semester or quarter.

Find and get in touch with your roommate(s). If you’ve been assigned a roommate or roommates by your college, connect with them by email, video conference, or in person -- whatever is most comfortable. At some point, you will want to discuss any shared items each of you will bring to the dorm room, such as a refrigerator, a coffee maker, or a microwave. If you’re looking for off-campus housing, check with your college’s housing office for information about finding roommates and rentals in the area.