March can feel like a slow month when you’re trying to get into college. Right now you’re stuck in the waiting game, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to make sure you can get in -- and pay for - your best-fit college.
Sign up for the Senior College Prep Email Series
1) Stay Focused
March can be tough if you’re still waiting for replies from colleges. It’s especially stressful when your friends are getting responses all around and you’re just waiting empty handed.
No matter what, you should use this time to keep your grades up. An offer of acceptance can actually be rescinded if you start to fail in your classes during your last semester. Keep up the grades, and stay focused.
2) Support Your Friends
They’ll be getting some big packets (and some small ones) in the mail right about now.
Remember to be happy for them if they got into their dream schools, even if you didn’t. And don’t forget to be their support if they need it when they don’t get into their top picks.
3) Respond to Acceptance Letters
If you’ve already received a letter of acceptance, the clock is ticking for you to decide if you intend to enroll.
There are a lot of things you’ll need to consider: has your dream school responded yet, if you could get a better financial aid offer somewhere else, if you’re sure you’re ready to leave home entirely…
Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Don’t rush it. Take your time and consider all your options.
4) Negotiate Financial Aid Offers
Few things are as disappointing as getting into the college of your dreams only to find out the financial aid package they offer isn’t enough to actually allow you to go.
Before you turn to begging relatives or taking on too much debt, remember that you can negotiate your financial aid offer.
It’s always worth asking for more -- the worst you’ll get back is a “no,” and you’ll be no worse off than you are now. The trick is knowing how to ask for more aid so that you get a “yes.”
5) Apply for Scholarships
You can’t spend too much time doing this. Don’t bank on a solid financial aid offer, parents, or loans. The days of paying for college with one summer of working at a part-time job are long gone.
The best way to pay for college is with money other people gave you. You should be applying for every possible scholarship you could win.