Your status may vary at different colleges as you read this: perhaps you’ve been admitted to a couple, you’re awaiting decisions from others, and you’ve submitted the financial aid paperwork to some but not all. You might feel like an entertainer with a few plates spinning, a couple balls in the air and a flaming sword that isn’t going to swallow itself. But much like entertainers often garner the help of
As you begin to pare down your list of colleges and try to navigate the financial aid process, one of the most important things you can do is remain in contact with your designated counselor at each college. S/he can update you on scholarship programs, let you know which financial aid forms have yet to be received, help you schedule the all-important spring visit and provide you with all of the information you and your parents need as you select the college that is the best fit for you.
With this in mind, many admissions staff members will be eager to reach out to you instead of simply waiting by the phone or computer. After all, once the plate falls to the ground—rather, once the financial aid filing deadline passes or all of the visit days are a thing of the past—it’s too late. At Illinois Wesleyan, counselors call the admitted students from their territories every 4-5 weeks to see if they need any assistance and answer any questions they have. However, there is also a “contact card” included in IWU’s acceptance packets that allows students to indicate if they prefer more or less contact, email instead of phone, etc. Feel free to be up front with the admissions counselors at your schools if you prefer a different method or frequency of contact over these next few months. We certainly don’t want to be a bother to you; we simply want to make sure you have everything you need as you make this important decision.
While the financial aid process will be one of the most important aspects of the spring for many students, visiting your top college choices can be extremely helpful as well. The importance of stepping foot on a campus you’ve never seen is relatively obvious, but returning to a campus can be beneficial as well. Sitting in on a class in order to get a feel for the academic environment and staying overnight with a student to experience the social culture can both help immensely as you work toward a confident college decision. Your admissions counselors will be happy to help you set up a visit that includes all of the elements you deem important.
So if the phone rings or your email inbox chimes with a message from one of your colleges these next few months, please know that we’re not trying to pressure you to make a decision prior to May 1 or chatter away annoyingly about our college without your specific needs in mind. We just know that you and your parents might need a little help with all the things you’re juggling!