Congrats on Your Admission, Now What?
This is an exciting time of year to be a college-bound senior! With applications completed and behind you, letters of congratulations and offers of admission will be arriving and it’s time to start thinking about which college or university is the best fit for your next academic adventure. As you narrow your search, here are a few recommendations.
Attend an Accepted Students Day or Shadow Opportunity
Students often visit college campuses during a weekend Open House event or during the summer when school is not in session. Visiting on a typical weekday and shadowing a current student is the best way to experience what your future daily life will be like. Go to a class or two, participate in a club event, visit the popular hangout locations, spend time in a first-year residence hall, and venture into town. Engage with your student hosts and ask them questions that are meaningful to you, because they are the experts in living the student experience! Before you leave, take time to explore on your own or with family. Ask yourself, “Do I see myself learning in the classrooms I saw today?” “Can I imagine thriving with the opportunities here?” “Am I comfortable with the people and environment?” “Can I eat this pizza happily for the next four years?” All very important questions to answer with an enthusiastic YES!
Dig a Little Deeper
Sometimes you need more information to make an informed decision. If there are parts of the college experience that create anxiety or uncertainty, connect with your admissions counselor to be referred to campus resources for more information. If you’re worried about living on campus with a roommate, talk to Residential Life about how it facilitates roommate processes and how it supports students in acclimating to campus. If you need to manage a dietary restriction or allergy, talk with Dining Services and learn how others navigate eating away from home. And biggest of all, if you have a question or concern about how you will be supported as a learner (perhaps because you had academic accommodations in high school or are nervous about the transition from high school to college-level work), speak with all of the resources available and with a faculty member in your selected major about what you can expect from your professors or advisors. Digging a little bit deeper might help you discover a resource, program, or opportunity that not only makes you feel more at ease but transforms your college experience.
Organize Your Findings
There will be many things to love about each campus that you visit, so organizing your information is important! Whether you create an Excel spreadsheet, a pro and con list, or handwritten bullets, take time to reflect on the top five most important aspects that you want out of your college experience. How do all of schools you’re considering measure up?
Although committing to a college or university seems like a monumental decision, remember to have fun and approach these next steps with an open mind and heart. You will find your way; be brave and confident in your decision. Good luck and best wishes for a bright and successful future!
Meghan Merritt Schaffer earned her BA in social studies secondary education from Rivier College and is currently taking graduate courses at PSU in personal and organizational wellness. Her higher education background includes positions in Student Activities, Residential Life, and Student Conduct, and since joining PSU in 2016 has enjoyed roles in traditional first-year recruitment, transfer admissions, and currently as a first-year success coach. She is passionate about helping college-bound seniors and first-year students find the right fit and navigate their first year of college, which is full of exciting firsts and sometimes challenges. When she is not on campus engaging with students Meghan enjoys hiking, skiing, history and art museums, and a good cup of coffee with friends. She live in Campton, NH, with her husband and their adventurous toddler.