What’s next for seniors, whoops college freshmen?

By Lee Shulman Bierer

With this weird school year finally behind us, the responsibilities of rising college freshmen are just beginning. Here are a variety of items you should be on top of. Some of them will be taken care of by your high school registrar or guidance office and some will be tasks you and your family need to complete.

  1. Pay up – You should have already submitted your deposit. If you have been accepted off a college’s wait-list, you will be asked to deposit right away and will have to forfeit the initial deposit you made before May 1. You will be able to find specific instructions on how and where to do this on the student’s portal of the college website.
  2. Send in the forms – Turn in any residency verification forms requested as well as AP Exam scores. Send official final transcripts from from your high school plus any dual enrollment, community college or summer programs where you’re seeking credit. Create your own paper trail by bringing hard copies of your high school transcript, your test scores (SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests and AP Exams) and your resume. Hopefully you won’t need them.
  3. Get real about the money –  Accept any institutional grants you’ve received. Be sure you understand the rules associated with renewing specific grants including maintaining a minimum GPA . Make sure you are clear about your loan arrangements including the payment schedule and potential penalties.
  4. Follow up with where you’ll be living – Residency arrangements this fall will continue to be unpredictable. Colleges and universities are still trying to figure out how to follow CDC guidelines. Turn in whatever paperwork you’ve been sent. Make hard copies to take with you on move-in day, just in case.
  5. Get oriented – Most college orientations are being done virtually. Listen, participate and take notes. A lot of time-sensitive and valuable information will be disseminated.
  6. Choose classes – Identify the specific distribution requirements as well as areas you may have already fulfilled with any AP courses from high school. Ask about the progression of classes, particularly in your potential major  i.e., which courses are prerequisites for more advanced classes, and know how often those classes are offered. Some classes are offered every semester and some classes may only be available every other year.
  7. Get advice – Meet virtually if possible with your advisor before selecting your classes.
  8. Understand the full cost of attendance – make sure you understand all the expenses and fees associated with being a freshman. There lab fees, activity fees, fraternity/sorority charges, club fees,
  9. Find a bank – Identify your local banking options. Open a checking account, get a debit card and credit card if that makes sense.
  10. Learn basic life skills. Use this summer to teach yourself how to budget and understand the workings of a credit card, a debit card, Venmo, the ATM and a checking account.

 

Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@collegeadmissionsstrategies.com; www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com

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