You Received Your College Acceptance Letter: Now What?

by Ben Kissam

The day has finally come—you received your first college acceptance letter. Congratulations! So what’s next? Call the school and say “YES!”? Tell your grandparents the good news? Shout it from the rooftops, like they do in the movies?

OK, maybe not the last one. But that first letter of admittance does change things if you’re a prospective college student, because now you know you’ve met the criteria for acceptance for at least one school.

Unfortunately, there’s not really a definitive answer on what to do next. There are, however, some practical things you can do now to set yourself up for success later.

Celebrate, But Be Patient

All it takes is one “yes” to confirm that you’re going to college. You can—and should—share the good news if you feel ready to! You might take a moment to post on social media to let current (and future) classmates know, call relatives, or share the good news with your teachers at school.

Just keep in mind that although the first acceptance letter is a big milestone, it’s not the end. Be patient while you wait for your other letters. Fortunately, most colleges send letters out around the same time, so it shouldn’t be too long!

Organize Your Thoughts

As you wait to hear from the other schools you applied to, it can be helpful to sort your thoughts about which you might attend. You can do this on paper or by talking to loved ones. Besides helping you make the right choice, this is a great way to distract yourself while you wait for your other letters.

You might want to:

  • Create a list of pros and cons for attending each school.
  • Rank your list of schools (you can do this even before you know where you’ve been accepted).
  • Rank your list of potential majors. What will best set you up for career success?
  • Create a spreadsheet or document with categories like fit, location, cost, and scholarship opportunities.

If spreadsheets aren’t your thing, talk over your options with family and friends. They can help confirm (or poke holes in) your thoughts and give you advice based on their experiences.

If Possible, Revisit Campuses

Is one or more of the colleges on your acceptance list within driving distance? If so, a second campus visit might help narrow down your list. As you walk around the academic buildings and green spaces, try asking yourself: Is this a place I’d fit in? What exactly do I like about this school?

It might surprise you what you notice during your second visit that you didn’t on your first trip. This fresh perspective might help you with your choice!

Make a Decision (Then Tie Up Loose Ends)

OK, so you’ve heard from each school, received multiple acceptance letters, and organized your thoughts as best you can. The time has come to make a choice—where do you want to spend the next four years?

Truth be told, there’s no specific formula for choosing. It’s best to use a combination of logic and intuition, and trust your judgment. If you follow the steps already mentioned, you’ll be making an informed choice.

Once you decide, inform the colleges you didn’t pick that you won’t be attending. Many have waiting lists, and once they know, they can offer your spot to another student. Tying up loose ends is a courteous gesture.

Finish High School Strong

Once you make your choice, going to college becomes real. It’s an exciting time in anyone’s life, so it’s perfectly normal to be enthusiastic. Just don’t forget about the responsibility in front of you, which is to finish high school strong.

Stay focused in school and avoid the senioritis some of your classmates are already suffering from. Strive to be the person your future college deemed worthy of acceptance!

Remember: that first acceptance letter is just another milestone. For now, it’s important to organize your thoughts and set yourself up to make an informed choice. And when you do choose, don’t forget to let your friends and family know!

Curious to learn more about the degree programs on offer at Azusa Pacific University and schedule a campus visit? Visit the school’s website to explore its undergraduate admissions webpage.