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National Decision Day (May 1st each year) – an important milestone! What the heck comes next?!

Updated 5/1/23

You made your decision about which college to attend in the fall (CONGRATS!), you notified them on National Decision Day and made a deposit by May 1st. The good news – the admissions phase is done! While I’m certain you (or your rising Freshman) would like to focus on graduation and the last summer before college, there are still some things you need to do to get ready for your first semester at college.  Don’t worry!  Most of it is easy, and it’s all very important.


Health Services Information


Before enrolling in classes, most schools will want you to download, complete and submit your Physical Exam information and Immunization History.  You’ll need to get the information from your last physical and provide it to the school. Most likely, you’ll need to upload it to a portal.


Verify Your Home Address and Emergency Contacts


It may seem inane to have to provide your home address again, but hey things change! Not a lot to do here.  Just verify it and move on.  Note, some schools may have you verify this information a couple of times a year.

Financial Aid Counseling


Put this in the super important, not very exciting quadrant of things to do. Also, it’s required for every student. It is an opportunity to understand your financial aid and figure out where you might have a financial gap.  It gives you an opportunity to apply for more scholarships, get a part-time job or look at other options to cover college costs, like a private student loan.


Make or Confirm Your Payment Plan


Most folks can’t afford to write one check at the beginning of the year for tuition and not think about it again.  Although it may seem clear what tuition, housing and meals will cost you, there are lots of other hidden costs you need to account for, that can really add-up.  By having a payment plan, you’re choosing to break up the largest costs into more manageable chunks which allows you to pay based upon your needs.  They range from payments across 12 months to just a few payments across the school year.


Placement Exams?  Really?!


We know… it seems like a total pain, and at the same time, you should get credit for all that hard work in high school. These are mandatory placement exams, and they assist with course selection.  Why start Spanish all over again?!


Complete the Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note Process


This is another important form to fill out – it gets the Federal money the school allocated to you. You’ve got to pay for college, so might as well make sure you’re covered and complete the process/forms sooner rather than later.


Resolve Hold


You’ll probably bump into a few of these.  A hold means you won’t be able to do crucial things like register for classes, move into your dorm or attend the first day of class.  One thing that may cause a hold is submitting your final high school transcript. They accepted you for those great grades in high school, so don’t slack off – finish strong and make sure to submit your final transcript.


Additionally, if you haven’t made your first payment or completed semester start policies (i.e., any of the above), you will run into a hold.

You’ll want to check your school portal and finish anything left on your list.


Last, but not least: School ID


WELCOME TO COLLEGE!!  It’s official!  This is your gateway to getting into buildings, school meal plans, school transportation and a myriad of other things including discounts at places that give student discounts! Upload a photo of yourself and you’ll get your ID when you arrive. (At some schools, you may do this in person on the day you move in.)


Again, congratulations on picking your school and notifying them on May 1st, National Decision Day!  You are on your way to starting the next chapter of your life.