We hope you’re starting to hear good news from colleges! But as the application process winds down and college admissions decisions come in, you’re likely to get a mixed set of results. Here’s some advice on how to handle those results and what to expect next.
- Celebrate your acceptances! You’ve worked so hard and have earned this success.
- Prepare to be recruited. When a college admits you, they want you to enroll. Colleges will do a lot to make students feel wanted and welcome. This often involves invitations to visit campus or spend a night in a dormitory. Some of the activities for admitted students are likely to change in light of the ongoing pandemic, but you should still think about what you want to do if you get those invitations. You might also start getting phone calls or emails from current students or even college merchandise like t-shirts and posters!
- Ask tough questions. If you have the opportunity to speak with current students or visit a campus, make sure you’re taking advantage of unfiltered opinions. If there’s anything you still have doubts about, now is the time to ask! Don’t hesitate to ask current students what the vibe is really like on campus and make sure there aren’t any deal breakers for you. If possible, seek out current juniors and seniors who attended before 2020 and know what the campus is like under ordinary (pre-pandemic) circumstances.
- It’s okay to be disappointed. Having your application denied is bound to be hard, but try not to let it get to you. Focus on the opportunities available at the schools that did accept you. Most students end up having a great time at whatever college they attend, even if it wasn’t their first choice. Remember that every college on your list was there for a reason, so there should be something to get excited about!
- It’s not a rejection. It might feel subtle, but there’s a big difference between being rejected and having your application denied. A college may not have space for you in the fall, but that doesn’t change who you are! You are just as smart, motivated, and talented as you always have been.
- Emphasize the positive. Focus on the schools that did admit you. Those schools are excited about you! Think about all the ways you can get involved in new organizations and coursework you haven’t had a chance to explore yet. Get interested in the schools that are interested in you, and remember that they think you’re awesome.
- Do you want to wait? Give serious consideration to whether you want to accept your waitlist offer. If the school that waitlisted you was your top choice, it might be worth the wait, but ask yourself if you’re just as excited about one of the schools that accepted you.
- Enroll somewhere. Students admitted in regular decision have until May 1st to decide whether to attend the schools that admitted them. That means most waitlist decisions won’t come out until after May 1st. Since very few students are admitted off of waitlists, it’s wise to secure your enrollment at one of the schools that admitted you. (Even if you want to hold out for your waitlist decision, you should carefully review your acceptances and enroll at the school that feels like the best fit for you. It won’t hurt your chances of getting in off the waitlist, and if you don’t enroll somewhere by that May 1st deadline, you might have nowhere to go in the fall.)
- Hold your spot. If you want to keep your spot on the waitlist, your waitlist offer letter will have instructions on how to confirm your continued interest. If the school allows it, you should also follow up with a letter of continued interest.
We know this can be a tense and difficult time, but try to focus on the positive and get excited for your college journey!