Thursday, January 7, 2010

Playing the waiting game

As I mentioned in my last post, big envelopes (or those icky small ones) from college's are starting to arrive - especially if you've applied early decision.  This is the time of year when mail carriers across the country are being stalked daily while students rush home after school to be the first to grab the mail.  Most of you are waiting on that one fat envelope from your top choice, but of course, are only receiving responses from your 2nd, 3rd, or even 5th choice schools.

Oh, the agony!

But don't let that discourage you.  There's a lot to be said for being accepted to any college - even your so-called safety.

So, since no one likes to wait around, here are a couple things you can do before your letter finally comes:

1.  Get to know your other choices!  You already know all about your first choice - right down to the water pressure in the dorm showers.  But have you taken the time to really learn about the schools that are lower on your list?  Check out their websites, talk to the admissions counselors, schedule an overnight visit, or for a more candid, insiders look, check if the colleges have profiles on social networking sites - it's the best way to talk with current students, professors, alumni, and staff who can answer your questions on pretty much anything!  Who knows, you might discover something you love about the school that you missed the first time around.

2.  Choose a major.  Many colleges let you apply without declaring a major.  If you've been undecided, start thinking about what you're most interested in studying.  By comparing which of your offers has the best program, the decision on where to attend becomes easier.  Shameless plug:  Nursing, communications, and psychology are all top majors at Simmons!  It's OK, though, if you still want to wait on it a bit.  Liberal arts colleges give you the option to check out a few courses first and will allow you to wait until your sophomore year before officially choosing a major.  Inter-disciplinary study does have it's advantages!

3.  Apply for financial aid.  This is, perhaps, the most important.  Once you've been accepted to your schools, it's time to start thinking about how you're going to pay for it.  For the majority of you, I'm sure your parents have already started hounding you about the paperwork.  Sometimes a decision rests on which school will give you the most aid, so the sooner you apply, the sooner you'll know which class of 2014 you'll belong to.  Even if you don't think you'll qualify aid, still, absolutely, 100% apply because you never know.  Also, start looking into grants and scholarships from local organizations in your community (fire stations, rotary clubs, libraries, etc.).  They may only offer small amounts, but any money helps and textbook expenses can add up.  At Simmons, you already have a counselor who can walk you through the process - even if you haven't yet applied.

Hopefully now you have some ideas to keep yourself busy.  It should distract you long enough to stop you from peering through the curtains, at least.  My guess is maybe you already received your envelope after all!

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