Once you send in all of your college applications you get a brief break from needing to worry about the next year, but once the admissions letters start coming in, you’ve got a lot more work on your hands. It can be stressful to be in constant anticipation of the responses you will get back from each college and then to determine where you want to go based on the schools that have accepted you. This is because once you start looking at your financial aid awards from each school, the order of your top schools is probably going to change quite a bit. Here is how to manage college admissions chaos.
Review Your Financial Aid Packages Closely
Assessing your cost of attendance isn’t as simple as looking at one numeric figure from each school. Your acceptance letters will come with a full breakdown of all the sources that your financial aid will come from and how much assistance you will get from each of those sources. Usually there will be some kind of work-study involved, and the number of hours they expect you to work each week will vary from school to school. Some colleges will also give you very different job options.
Decide if You Want to Appeal Any of Those Packages
It’s not uncommon for people to review their financial aid awards and find that the assistance offered is insufficient. If the cost of attendance is simply too high for you and you believe that you should qualify for more assistance, then most schools will give you the option of appealing your award. This is your opportunity to make your case for why you deserve more assistance, and in some cases, you may even want to inform them if other schools have made better offers.
Start Looking into Loan Options
If the cost of attendance is an amount that you consider manageable, then you are probably going to need to look into student loans. Your financial aid breakdown from each school will usually provide you with information regarding the best places to apply for student loans, but it doesn’t hurt to do your own research. You should definitely assess the pros and cons of both private and federal loans, and determine which option is best for you. The great thing about a lot of federal loans is that they often have fixed interest rates, and there are usually some options for loan forgiveness.
Take Campus Tours
Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential colleges down to a handful, more or less, you want to start going on college tours. If you are considering a school that’s all the way across the country and you can afford to visit, then you definitely should. For example, most people from Florida have no idea what life is like in Washington. In the case that you want to earn WSU’s executive MBA, you should do what you can to visit the campus and find out if the climate, culture, and day-to-day life is something that you would enjoy. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to ask a few current students what they do and don’t like about the program.