With the College Decision Made, What’s Next for your Senior?

The hardest part is done, but there are a few things left on the to-do list.

by Anne Vaccaro Brady

You can all breathe a little easier now, but don’t forget about these items.


Schedule orientation If they haven’t already, your student will soon be receiving information about signing up for an orientation session. There are parent sessions, too, so check your calendar and see which dates work best for all of you.

Since this is when students schedule their classes, I suggest you choose one of the earlier dates, if possible. We learned the hard way that certain courses are filled by the later sessions.

Prepare for the second-guessing At this point, some seniors question whether they chose the right college. Again, this reaction is perfectly normal.

Keep your senior focused There are still final exams and colleges look at final grades.

Check that AP/IB scores went to the college Confirm through the College Board site that all AP scores are on their way to the chosen school. IB students should go through the IB website and fill out a transfer request form or talk with their Diploma Programme coordinator if they haven’t already.

Scheduling classes is easier for your student if AP/IB credits are received a few weeks before orientation.

Moving off the wait list If your teen gets accepted to one of his top choice colleges through the wait list, he needs to contact any other schools where he’s been wait-listed and say he’s chosen to go somewhere else. A college where he previously put down a deposit must also be informed that he won’t be attending.

Medical forms and more A lot of colleges require a physical and specific vaccinations before a student can come to campus. With most colleges starting classes in August, schedule that doctor’s appointment now to beat the summer rush in the office.

If your teen takes any prescription medications daily, this is a good time for her to talk with her doctor about whether she needs to stay on the meds and how to handle being more in charge of her own health, especially if she’s going away to college. Discuss the best way to handle refills.

Decide if you want to get a health care proxy for your student. Because college students are considered adults, parents don’t need to be  informed when they get sick on or off campus.

Finalize how to pay the college bill The first tuition payment is usually due before classes start, mid- to late August for most college. Determine whether you’ll pay in a lump sum or on a payment plan.

Know where the money’s coming from so that you and/or your teen are sure the bill can be paid on time. Follow up on any outstanding scholarship money and finalize private loan paperwork.

If your student is taking a Stafford Loan, he’ll need to complete the short online session that explains his responsibility in accepting the loan.

Before your teen starts that summer job, talk about how much of each paycheck he must save to either help pay tuition or use as his spending money during the school year.

Housing choices Colleges send information on dorm options over the summer. Your student will likely receive an extensive questionnaire designed to help the residence life office determine which kids will be compatible with each other.

Some incoming freshmen let the college pair them with a roommate(s), like mine did. Others find their roommate at orientation, on Facebook (someone makes a page for your teen’s class) or at home.

Enjoy the moments Whether your student is going away to college or living at home, this is a transition time for your family.

Make the most of what’s left of her high school days—savor prom, graduation and all the parties (where you can commiserate with other parents wondering where the time went).

Listen when your kid talks, relax together on vacation and allow yourself to acknowledge all the reasons you’re proud of your student. Don’t forget to be proud of yourself for helping get your teen to this point.

Share your thoughts and experiences on what to do after the college decision is made in the comments section below. 

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