NAVIGATING COLLEGE ADMISSIONS DECISIONS
If you’ve applied to colleges under the regular decision deadline, you’ve likely been holding your breath since December or January. Now that it’s mid-March, it’s time to start breathing again! Colleges are beginning to release their decisions and will continue to do so through April. No matter the outcome, try to stay calm and make a plan for next steps, which we discuss below.
IF YOU’RE ACCEPTED
Congratulations! First of all, take a moment to recognize all the hard work you’ve put in, and celebrate (but not for too long). As tempting as it may seem, an acceptance is not an invitation to slack off and drift into the land of Senioritis. In fact, many colleges require you to stay in good academic standing even after acceptance, so be sure to keep those grades up!
Between now and May 1st (“Decision Day”), take time to do some more thinking and research. This mostly applies if you’ve gotten into more than one of your top schools. If possible, revisit the campuses and reconnect to the atmosphere. Reach out to any current students you may have met while visiting and ask any last minute questions. Finally, sit down with your college advisor and family members for some advice.
IF YOU’RE WAITLISTED
It’s always frustrating to get a maybe, but don’t let this get you down. First off, contact the school promptly and let them know whether or not you’d like to stay on the waitlist. If you’re invested in getting in, gather information: How many students do they typically take off the waitlist? Is there any other material you can add to your application? Make sure the college knows how committed you are. You might request an additional interview or submit a letter explaining why this school is your top choice.
In the meantime, be sure to consider other options. It’s best to act as if you have been denied and make plans accordingly. Take stock of your other acceptances and evaluate where the next best fit will be. Keep your grades up, and show schools that you mean business.
IF YOU’RE DENIED
Receiving a no from your top schools is tough—allow yourself to feel the disappointment, and then rally. Now’s not the time to give up! Take a look at your other options and get excited about them. Set up a meeting with your counselor to receive some support.
Remember, you can always transfer. Some students start out at one of their middle or safety schools, work hard for a year, and then transfer to their top school. It’s still possible to get into the school of your dreams!
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