What to do once you've chosen a school

Congratulations, you know where you're going to go! The next few months are going to be incredibly busy and exciting ones as you prepare for the transition to college. Here's a list of things you'll need to take care of before you hit campus in the fall.

Read all college materials carefully

There's a reason the envelope is fat. Besides the acceptance letter, you'll also find information on orientation, financial aid, housing, meal plans and more to help you make a smooth transition. Much of the information will require prompt decisions and responses, so pay close attention to any deadlines.

Send the tuition deposit

Turning in the deposit late, or not at all, can jeopardize your acceptance. If your college follows the National Candidate's Reply Date, you should have until May 1 to make your final decision and send in your deposit-there are exceptions, so take note of the reply date in your materials. Your tuition deposit signals your acceptance of the college's offer of admission and reserves your place in the freshman class. Good news-many colleges allow families to make deposit payments online using credit cards.

Make a decision about financial aid

Your award letter will outline the various types of financial aid you've been offered including gift aid-scholarships and grants-and self-help aid-loans and Work-Study. Here are some tips to remember:

- You're not required to accept the entire aid package as offered. For example, some students decline a work-study amount or accept a loan for a lesser amount.

- If there are any significant changes to your financial aid status or contact information, you must inform the financial aid office.

- Make sure you complete, sign and return the form by the designated deadline.

Take care of loan paperwork

If you accept student loans as part of your aid package, you probably will need to fill out loan application forms before the start of the semester.

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