While it’s true that most of your work is done for your college applications, keep in mind that your actions and decisions in the months ahead can still affect the admission decision.
If you feel “senioritis” sinking in, take a break and then get right back to your studies to avoid negative impact on your college decisions.
1. Keep Your Grades Up. Colleges will get a copy of your “Midyear Report,” which will show your senior-year grades at the end of the first semester or term. Colleges do not view “senioritis” favorably. Not only should you be carrying a strong course load in 12th grade, but you will be expected to maintain your grades and GPA. In the worst case scenario, a significant decline in academic performance in senior year can result in the rescinding of an offer of admission. The appearance of even one uncharacteristically low grade in a senior-year course may prompt a letter from the college expressing concern.
2. Inform Colleges of Changes. Life doesn’t stand still after you’ve submitted your application. You may have found out that you are a National Merit Finalist or that you will have the lead role in the spring play. You may have decided to change your course schedule for the next term or to take on a new part-time job. Admissions Officers want to know the full context behind your application, so feel free to update your application with a brief note—usually an email—to the Admissions Office. Be sure to contact your colleges if you have a new email or postal address since you turned in your application. Many colleges list their admissions staff members by region on their websites as well as their contact information, making it simpler to find the right person to call or email.
If you are deferred, send a brief email with updates and confirming you strong interest in the college.
3. Confirm That Your File Is Complete. You may be wondering whether a college received all of the application materials for your file. If you applied to Common Application schools, you will be able to tell much of this via your account on the Common Application. Some colleges will send out notifications—usually by email—of any missing items, and sometimes again when your application is complete. You may also find that the colleges to which you have applied have an applicant “portal” where you can check what items have been received. It may be appropriate in some cases to call an admissions office to check on whether your application is complete. Colleges often need at least two weeks after a deadline to input applications, so be sure to give them ample time before you call.
4. Take Action If You Are Deferred. If you find out that you have been deferred from your early decision college, it is usually appropriate to send updates on your grades and activities. In some cases, showing that your interest in the college remains strong by writing a letter, visiting or interviewing (if still possible), could sway a decision in your favor. Submitting an additional recommendation that adds new insight into you as a student may also make a difference.
So, while you can relax some and breathe a sigh of relief, remember to keep up the good work and keep your colleges informed of any significant changes since you submitted your application.