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  • After You're Accepted

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    (We hope you're reading this with at least one acceptance letter in your hand.)

    You're in! Congratulations! Now what?

    If you're choosing between several schools, and you've applied for financial aid, you'll want to compare their award offers. Once you've decided where you're going, send in your deposit to reserve your spot.

    Here are a few other things to keep in mind as the post–acceptance euphoria wears off:

    Be polite to the colleges you reject.

    If you're accepted to a college and decide not to attend, it's important to let them know ASAP (most colleges include an acceptance/rejection form with the letter of admission). Once the college knows your decision, they can offer your spot (and your financial aid) to a student who really wants to attend.

    If you developed a personal relationship with an admissions officer, or if the college offered you a particularly generous scholarship, consider writing them a short letter. Let them know that it was a difficult decision, and that you're grateful for the time they spent reviewing your application.

    Avoid senioritis.

    When a college offers you a place in their freshman class, it's a conditional offer. That means they can still take it back if you give them a reason to. This really does happen–don't let it happen to you.

    Keep working. Don't tune out or drop out. The admissions office will expect to see a final transcript, and they'll be on the lookout for any sudden drops in performance.

    Don't do anything that could get you in trouble with school administrators (or the cops). In short, avoid behavior that would cast doubt on the shining portrait of yourself you painted in your application.

    Say thank you.

    A lot of people helped you get into college–your teachers, your college counselor, your parents. Let them know how much you appreciate their efforts–maybe write them a thank–you note. This may seem obvious. But in the rush of final exams and prom and graduation, it's easy to forget.

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