College admissions decisions can stir up a host of emotions including anxiety, disappointment, excitement, confusion, and ambivalence. Students should try to prepare for a multitude of different outcomes and strive to trust the admissions process itself as well as their own instincts. At the end of the day, applicants who compiled a balanced list of best-fit schools can feel confident that they will gain admission to an institution where they will be successful and happy.
Given the uncertainty surrounding admissions decisions and the build-up that comes before opening those much-anticipated results, it’s natural to feel a little anxious. In order to keep your nerves at bay and make the most of your spring semester, we have rounded up some of our top tips for preparing for college admissions decisions.
Reflect on Your Journey
Before decisions are released, take some time to reflect on all of the hard work that has gotten you to this point. The application process is multi-faceted and requires significant planning, self-reflection, and diligence. Simply completing all of these steps is a learning process in and of itself and something every applicant should take pride in. Consider making a list of lessons you have learned from this experience and reminders you wish to carry with you to the future. Whether it’s the importance of planning ahead or prioritizing your passions, there are so many valuable takeaways students should remember long after finishing their application process.
Students who have put in the time and research necessary to compile a balanced list of best-fit schools should be excited about their future, regardless of how many schools to which they are admitted. A balanced list of schools is designed to incorporate a mix of target, reach, and likely options, so every applicant should gain admission to at least one institution from this selection. Instead of focusing solely on your top-choice colleges, strive to stay in the know about what’s going on at each school on your list. By focusing on the positive qualities and exciting opportunities on every potential campus, students can prepare to make the most of every admissions outcome.
Anticipate Multiple Outcomes
Regardless of the amount of work you put in, the test scores you obtained, or the supplements you sent, there are absolutely no guarantees throughout the college admissions process. Every year, extremely qualified students are turned away from their top choice institutions, simply because there aren’t enough seats in the class. Every college is looking to fill specific institutional needs, such as ensuring there are enough engineering majors. While it’s necessary to trust the admissions process, it’s also important to prepare for every outcome, including rejection or being placed on a waitlist. Don’t avoid thinking about negative outcomes. Instead, acknowledge that they are a possibility and create a plan of action to cope with potential disappointments and make the most of your circumstances.
Brainstorm a Review Plan
Usually, it’s not the best idea to open college admissions emails during the school day. Alternatively, students should consider what environment will be best for them when receiving important news. For some, that might mean waiting to open college decision emails until they are home, maybe with the support of parents or a close friend – or even alone. Think about the environment you will feel most comfortable in and create that setting before opening any pressing emails or letters. While some peers might choose to post their college admissions outcomes on social media, no student should feel pressured to do this. Your journey is entirely your own and you should focus on doing what feels best for you.
Reward Yourself For Your Efforts
Opening your college admissions outcomes will take mere seconds, but processing the results can require far more time. Consider planning an activity that helps you de-stress and unwind following all of your admissions news. Options like a spa day, movie night, or long hike can help students take their minds off of the college admissions process, come back to something they love, and reward themselves for all of their hard work. Regardless of the news you receive, it can be comforting to have an activity that brings you joy to look forward to.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
The college admissions process can be confusing and it doesn’t stop once decisions are announced. Whether it’s how to navigate a waitlist or the ins and outs of work study, continue to do your research so that all of your questions are answered. Students may wish to work with an independent counselor, discuss queries with their high school guidance counselor, or call the admissions or financial aid office at their prospective future colleges.
This is an exciting time for college-bound students, and taking some time to think about how and when they want to reveal and cope with admissions decisions is an important part of the process. At IvyWise, we help students with every kind of college admissions outcome, including more uncertain decisions like being placed on a waitlist. For more information about IvyWise’s admissions counseling services, contact us today.