Seniors await college acceptance letters

Attention all mail carriers.  Beware.  You are in the midst of your most dangerous season and will likely be stalked, chased, tackled, trampled or spontaneously hugged by one or more teenagers anxiously awaiting their college acceptance letters.  Yes, with the arrival of spring so comes the mad dash to the mailbox in hopes of receiving the letter.  The thick letter to be exact.  The one welcoming seniors to the college of their choice. 
 
Most applicants will receive notice within the next two weeks.  The University of Texas insists all students will receive word on their status no later than April 1. Roughly 29,000 students applied to UT at Austin this year, with San Antonio residents making up a large portion of that number. 
 
“San Antonio is a big feeder,” says Suzie Deem, executive assistant to the Dean of Admissions.  She admits the school’s location – to far too commute, but still close to home – is probably a key reason why the school is so popular among area students.
 
Cara Patierno, a 2007 graduate of Reagan High School, chose the University of Texas at Austin mainly for the more affordable in-state tuition.  She was also searching for a school that was larger than Reagan and one that had a football team or some type of sporting event that united the student body.  “Of course the academic standards had to be good as well,” she says.  “I wanted a little bit of a challenge and to attend a known university.”   
 
The University of Texas, as with many colleges, accept new students based on a comprehensive review of their school and community achievements, SAT scores and required essay submissions.  The Admissions Office has yet to finalize how many applicants will be accepted for the 2008-09 school year.    
 
But, receiving a letter of acceptance does not mean the to-do list is complete.  Financial aid offers will also be sent within the next few weeks and families will need to compare the awards from different colleges. According to the College Board, a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting students to college success, students must also notify every college of their acceptance or rejection of admission and financial aid by May 1.   Many colleges, including the University of Texas, require an enrollment deposit by that date as well.
 
For those who have been wait-listed, the College Board recommends students tell the admissions office their intent to enroll if accepted and ask how to strengthen their application. Those already accepted should immediately finalize housing arrangements.  “It fills up very quickly,” Deem says.  “The process should have already been started.”
 
Finally, during the summer the College Board recommends students ask their high school to send a final transcript to the college.  After that, they need only prepare for the exciting year ahead.