Seniors: Get a head start on your college apps this summer!

What to Do While Waiting for College Admissions Decisions

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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This time of year makes for very anxious high school seniors as many wait to hear back from colleges about their admissions decisions. The period between submitting applications and receiving decisions can feel like an eternity and often leaves students in an academic limbo with many thinking, “I’ve done all I can and the decision is in the hands of the admissions committee — what else can I do?”

The truth is, just because applications are submitted, the school year is far from over and students should proceed like it’s any other semester. Now is not the time to slack! While waiting for admissions decisions, there’s plenty that students can do to stay involved, pass the time, and maintain academic performance.

Here’s what students can do while they wait for admissions decisions:

Don’t Fall Victim to Senioritis

You’re finally done with applications and standardized tests (minus those AP exams!), but your school career is far from over. As we’ve said before, colleges will see your final transcript and they reserve the right to rescind an offer of admission or financial aid if they see a decline in a student’s grades. While it may seem tempting to skip an assignment or two, you’ll only be hurting yourself.

Keep up your grades and academic performance by setting goals for the semester, forming a plan of action for tests and assignments, and working with your friends to keep each other motivated and accountable.

Fill out the FAFSA

The FAFSA — or Free Application for Federal Student Aid — is now available, and the sooner you complete it, the better. Even if you think you don’t qualify for aid, complete it anyway. Many colleges use this information for scholarships and other merit aid — so better to be safe than sorry! Also be mindful of state and specific college deadlines. You don’t want to miss out on aid because you waited too late to submit your FAFSA.

Also, look into other ways to fund your college education like private scholarships or even crowd-funding! There are a variety of options out there to help you pay for college — do your research while you wait to hear back about aid and scholarship offers.

Explore a New Activity

Maybe you have some free time semester — don’t spend it sitting around! Staying idle only leaves you with time to worry and stress over college admissions decisions. Use any free time you have this spring to explore a new activity or interest. Is there a STEM competition you’ve always wanted to enter but never had time? What about an AP exam you can self-study for? Maybe there’s a new club on campus you’re curious about.

Just because it won’t go on your activity list doesn’t mean you can’t try out new extracurriculars. You never know — it might inspire you to try out something similar when you get to college!

Start Planning Your Summer

Summer may seem far away, but it’ll be here before you know it — and many summer activities fill up quickly or close applications in the spring! Start doing research on ways you can spend your last summer before college productively. Of course you deserve some time off after an especially hectic year, and maybe you’re looking forward to a special trip or simply can’t wait to work your way through a few (non-school) books.

However, there are many other ways to take advantage of this “last” summer break. Start looking into summer courses that might interest you. This is a good way to better explore an area of interest while also gaining some academic credit. Maybe there’s a summer program for graduating high school seniors that you’d like to participate in. Many students choose to spend the summer working and saving some money for the school year. If you already have a part-time job, see if you can take on more hours once you’re free from school commitments. Or take the opportunity to try something completely new! Start applying for jobs or internships that relate to your intended major — that way you can gain experience and prepare for the next chapter of your academic career.

Remember, colleges continue to monitor your grades right up until high school graduation. If you’re struggling to maintain good grades, an IvyWise tutor can help you finish your semester on a strong note and ensure you have a smooth academic transition to the rigors of a college workload. Contact us today to learn how we can help!


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