25 Things to Do After Getting Accepted Early Decision

Congratulations on your early decision acceptance. Here are 25 things to do:

Follow college’s instructions that came with your acceptance.
Stop work on any other college applications.
Withdraw any other applications you have submitted to by emailing the admissions office. Include your name, high school, and a brief note that you were accepted early decision to a binding program and you will be attending that school. 
Follow your high school’s procedure for recording your acceptance.
Thank your high school guidance counselor and those who wrote letters of recommendation for you.
Look for outside scholarships.
Get a meningococcal conjugate vaccine if you will be living in a residence hall. If you received it before their 16th birthday, you will need a booster shot for maximum protection before going to college.
Request that an official final high school transcript be sent to your early decision college. This can’t be sent until the current school year is over.
Send ACT/Sat score officially through the testing agency if it was previously only self-reported. 
Take any pre-tests required before registering for fall classes.
Determine if you can receive credit for college level work you took while in high school and submit any paperwork needed (e.g., send official AP scores or official transcript from dual enrollment courses)
Review course catalog and register for fall classes in accordance with college’s directions.
Complete financial aid verification process, if necessary. 
Accept or decline the loans you have been offered. 
Complete loan counseling online for any loans you are accepting. 
Sign master promissory note for any loans you are accepting. 
Consider finding a summer job.
Submit housing deposit and enrollment deposit.
Sign up for summer orientation.
Confirm freshmen move-in date and make your travel plans. 
Purchase items needed for college living. 
Check student portal and email daily.
If you don’t already have one, open a bank account.
Look into getting a state ID card if you don’t have one and don’t have a driver’s license. 
Consider reading a book like “The Naked Roommate” and/or “How to Survive Your Freshman Year” before college starts.

DECA Marketing Competition at Middlesex County College

Chambers Hall, Middlesex County College

In January, high school students from various Marketing Education Programs across the State of New Jersey participated in the first of their DECA (an Association of Marketing Students) competitions. The regional conference brought me to Middlesex County College, where I was a volunteer judge serving in the role of a CEO of a nationwide supermarket chain.  

College Center, Middlesex County College
Teams of two students were given a hypothetical situation that the supermarket chain was facing. They prepared for thirty minutes, and then pitched a marketing campaign for the changes to the business that they proposed.   Each team was judged and scored.  This was a wonderful opportunity for high school students to compete, get real-life experience with business people, and to have the opportunity to earn scholarship money for college. 

Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA

Elizabethtown College, called E-town for short is a small private liberal arts college in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania with the motto “Educate for Service.”

Academics – Classes are small and students have good relationships with their professors. There are more than 50 majors and 80 minors. The school offers BS, BA, BM, and a MS in Occupational therapy. The school has some special academic opportunities including an Honors program, a 5 year Occupational Therapy (OT) program, a music therapy program, an international business major, and an actuarial science major. The Bowers Writing House sponsors many speakers. Experiential learning is valued with 86% of students having an internship, research project and/or study abroad experience. Since 2008, the school has added funding to global learning, student research, residential life and career services. Freshmen take a first-year seminar (FYS) and their FYS instructor is also their freshman advisor. In addition, every freshman is assigned two trained upperclassmen to be their peer mentors.

Physical – The school is made up primarily of brick buildings on a 200-acre campus. Currently dam reconstruction is taking place in front of the chapel/performance space. There are music practice rooms and a black box theatre.

Dorms – 85% of students live on campus. Freshmen and Sophomores live together. The dorms are air-conditioned. Freshmen are allowed to have cars on campus.

Extracurricular – E-Town has 20 NCAA Division III sports. The biggest spectator sport on campus is Soccer with the big game of the year against Messiah College. There is no football team. There are over 80 clubs and organizations with the biggest clubs on campus being Emotions, a dance club, and Call to Lead, a community service club. The school has service project days. Students mentor Milton Hershey High School students, as well as E-Town freshmen. Students frequent art galleries in Lancaster on the first Friday of each month. A much-loved school tradition is the pre-Thanksgiving turkey dinner served by faculty followed by the tree lighting. There is no Greek life on campus.

Financial Aid – Merit aid is given to over half the students and requires no separate application. Five students get full-tuition scholarships plus $4K for study abroad, research, internships, public service or leadership. There are also merit scholarships valued at $16K, 19K, and $22K.

Admissions – Most majors have rolling admissions with application review starting in mid-October. Decisions are generally sent out in 2 – 3 weeks. OT and Honors require an interview. Music majors require an audition. The school uses the Common App. For most majors, students can waive the SAT if they are in the top 10% of their class or have a GPA greater than 3.5 (if their school does not rank). The mid-50% of accepted students has an SAT score between 1030 and 1230 (out of 1600).

Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA

Science Building (Biology, Chemistry, and some Environmental Science)

Performing Arts Building

Academic Center

College Center

Concert Choir

 Just the Facts – Juniata College is a private, residential liberal arts and sciences college of 1600 students on a 110-acre main campus with a 315-acre Nature Preserve and a 365-acre Environmental Studies Field Station. The school is located in the small town of Huntingdon, in central Pennsylvania.

Academics – Juniata students can develop their own major, called a Point of Emphasis, and 30% of students do. Every student has two advisors, to help them every step of the way. Classes are small and professors are available. The school is well known for its science programs.

Study abroad is very popular. 48% of the class of 2012 had an international experience. Juniata is one of 5 schools to receive the Paul Simon award for promoting internationalism.

What’s new – Juniata will be getting a new college president. They are down to 4 candidates and the students have been involved in the selection.

Juniata received a $1 million research grant in May to implement and integrate a Genomics Leadership Initiative. They plan to establish a structured research program, with 40 summer research fellowships in which undergrads use state-of-the-art science and technology related to genomics.

The food court is being renovated. A new residence hall with singles will be built.

Socially – There are more than 90 clubs and organizations. Popular clubs include Star Wars, Circle K (volunteer), ultimate frisbee, and student government. Seventy percent of students are involved in community service. Volleyball is most popular sport to watch on campus. There are no fraternities or sororities at Juniata.

Fun things to do on campus include Mountain Day (classes cancelled for a day of outdoor fun), Madrigal Dinner (formal dinner and dance), Springfest, Storming of the Arch, Mountain Day of the Mind (conference for undergrad research), artist series, movies, speakers, and the Pig Roast.

Financial Aid – Juniata has both need-based and merit-based aid. On the average, the college meets 90% of need. There are significant merit scholarships with values up to the full Cost of Attendance.

After college – 95% of graduates were employed or in graduate school six months after graduation. One hundred companies were represented at the February career fair for jobs and internships. 94% of pre-med and health profession students are admitted to medical or professional school. 100% of students applying to law school were admitted.

What’s your experience with Juniata College?

How Will I Afford College?

Parents worry about how much college will cost and how they will afford college. Other than purchasing a home, college is usually the largest investment a family will make. Hopefully, families have been saving for college from the time their children were small. But with four years of college costing as much as a quarter of a million dollars, family savings are typically not enough.

A common misconception that parents have is that their financial salvation will come in the form of private scholarships. Private scholarships make up only 6% of all scholarships.   

The biggest source of aid is through the colleges. Families can save thousands of dollars by selecting the right colleges. Some parents might jump to the wrong conclusion when reading this. They might think that this means their child needs to attend a college with a low sticker price. Colleges, however, are like airplanes. Different people are paying different amounts for the same service. Surprisingly, private colleges may be less expensive than a public in-state college. 

Students need to select colleges that fit them financially, as well as academically and socially. The junior year of high school is a great time to begin the college selection process. If you are a rising senior, and haven’t considered the following financial questions, try to address them now. 

On the financial side, you need to know:

  1. How much money has been saved for college?
  2. How much need-based aid do you qualify for?
  3. Which colleges meet a high percent of need?
  4. Which colleges meet the need primarily with grants, instead of loans and work/study?
  5. How much merit aid do you qualify for?
  6. How many years will it take to graduate? (Students will want to check the 4-year, 5-year and 6-year graduation rates at the colleges they are considering.) 
  7. How much money is the most the student should borrow?
  8. How much money is the most the parents should borrow?

Some families, without the money to pay the college sticker price, ignore these issues and stick their heads in the sand. I don’t recommend that since the family may run out of money before college is completed or the student/family may be saddled with incredible debt for years to come.

Other families invest significant time to research these issues. Some families hire an independent college admissions professional like me, who understands these issues and the available resources, saving the family money and preventing the family from taking on too much debt.
What has your experience been?  What questions do you have?