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You’ve Applied. Now What?

With Early Decision II and Regular Decision applications due January 5, application season is officially behind us! It’s time to close the Common Application tab on your laptop (which has probably been open for months) and breathe a sigh of relief. You made it. 

Still, with ED II results coming out in February, this anticipatory period can feel just as long and stressful as the application season itself. I remember first-hand checking my email over and over again, refreshing the application portal, and crossing my fingers for good news. So, here are my tips to make sure you do not make yourself feel completely antsy during this time period.

The best way I avoided excess stress after applying was by keeping most of the details of my college applications to myself. If your high school is anything like mine, things can get pretty toxic. Kids would often compare their test scores and other statistics to other students applying to similar schools and speculate about who would get into where. I simply got into the habit of walking away when these conversations started, and not engaging. Other than a few close friends, I never even really discussed which schools I was applying to. While I am not suggesting that you need to keep your college applications a secret, it is good to be mindful of which conversations are productive, and which ones are not. In general, when people begin to compare and speculate, it’s time to change the subject and walk away. 

On that note, it is important to remember that so many things go into an acceptance other than just test scores, so don’t sweat it when you hear people bragging or complaining about their own scores. As a college junior, I am proud to say that I don’t remember what I got on the ACT. Once you’re done with applications, these things really don’t matter anymore. 

Similarly, social media can be a tricky place to navigate while waiting for responses from schools. I have fallen down countless YouTube and TikTok rabbit holes of people discussing their “stats” and essays that got them into elite universities. While these videos are fascinating to watch and somewhat addicting, they can also create a toxic mindset. If you find yourself watching this type of content and frequently comparing yourself to others, it might be time to take a break.

Social media in general can be really complicated, especially as people post their own acceptances and their friends’ acceptances on Instagram. It obviously does not feel great to see everyone posting about their future colleges when you do not quite know where you will be next year. However, social media can absolutely be used for good, as it is incredibly fun to hype your friends up on their successes. This time of year is a good reminder of how important it is to be supportive of the people in your life who are going through the same stressful process as you. 

I still remember which of my friends was the first to get into college. I was driving home from school while she checked her phone, and she read her “congratulations” email out loud while everyone in the car screamed with excitement. However, I also remember sitting with one of my best friends immediately after she found out she did not get into one of her top-choice schools. We spent the night hanging out to soften the blow, and soon after, she found out she was accepted into another one of her top choices. The celebration afterward was even more meaningful. Being there for your friends through both good news and bad news is incredibly important, and a little bit of support can go a long way. 

One of my favorite memories of my senior year of high school was when a few of my friends showed up at my house with blue and yellow balloons and cake as a surprise to celebrate my early acceptance to the University of Rochester, even though they were still waiting for their own acceptance news.

Celebrating my acceptance to the University of Rochester

On a more practical note, now that you have submitted your applications, it’s a good idea to go ahead and double-check that everything made it through. This includes your transcripts and letters of recommendation. Don’t be shy about politely following up with teachers — they likely have a lot of students with a lot of deadlines!

At the end of the day, you will end up where you are meant to be. While it is easy to obsess and make yourself feel crazy during this waiting period, take a step back and appreciate how far you have already come. 

As someone who was in your shoes three years ago, I wish you good luck. You’ve got this. 

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