Do's and Don'ts for High Schools Seniors When Admissions Decisions Come In
It’s decision time, and high schools seniors across the country (and the globe!) are anxiously waiting for colleges to release regular decisions.
When the verdict is in, whether it’s an acceptance, denial, or waitlist decision, it’s an emotional time for everyone.
Whether the decision is (hopefully) what you were expecting, or a big disappointment, there are ways to appropriately handle the outcome.
Here are some of our top college decision do’s and don’ts for recent admits:
If you got in…
DO pat yourself on the back!
Congratulations! You worked hard, and it paid off. Feel proud of yourself for your accomplishments and take time to thank your parents, teachers, and counselors for their help and encouragement.
We’re happy that you’re happy, and so are your friends and family, but others may not have faired quite as well. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating and sharing the good news, but do so appropriately. Don’t put others down and be sensitive to others who didn’t get into their dream schools.
DO join the social media community.
Many admissions offices set up Facebook groups and Twitter handles for recent admits to join or follow in order to stay informed and connect with other class members. You’re one of them, so feel encouraged to join! It’s a great way to get a head start meeting your future friends and classmates, and it can also be one of the many tools to help you make a decision about where to enroll if you’re weighing multiple offers.
But…DON’T post photos of acceptance letters with identifying information.
As a general rule of thumb: you should ALWAYS be careful about what information you share on the Internet. While it’s an exciting time and you’ll want to Instagram or tweet your acceptance to the #Classof2018, or other hashtags admissions offices might encourage admits to use, make sure information like your full name, address, or any other identifying info like partial social security numbers are NOT visible.
If you didn’t get in…
DO take some time to mourn.
Getting denied from your first-choice, or even a “likely” school, is disappointing. It’s ok to take some time to feel disheartened. Talk with your parents and college counselor about your feelings and see if your counselor can place a call to the admissions office to find out why you were not accepted. While it won’t change the outcome, it may help give you a little closure.
But…DON’T get discouraged.
While it’s good to let the negative energy out, don’t let it take over. Feel sad and then move on. If you applied to a balanced list of target, reach, and likely schools, you will have other admissions offers from great-fit schools! Stay positive and remember all the other great schools that want you to attend!
DO spend time weighing all your other options.
Again, if you applied to a range of great-fit schools, you likely have many other admissions offers to consider. Take your time to review all offers, including scholarships and other financial aid, and the research you did prior to applying. If possible, plan visiting any campuses you haven’t yet.
This, along with participating in admitted students’ social media communities or school-sponsored events, will help you decide where you will ultimately want to enroll. You might even find out something amazing about a school that you overlooked because you were too focused on that other “dream school.” There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, so making a chart or a pros vs. cons list might help you sort through all the information.
But…DON’T just go by official rankings.
In light of a “dream school” denial it might seem easiest to enroll at the “highest ranked” school with a notable reputation that did accept you. Keep in mind that all the schools you applied to were because they were great-fits for your personal and academic goals, not because of name brand or a number on a ranking list. When deciding where to enroll, think about why you wanted to apply in the first place.
If you were waitlisted…
DO think it over.
Before contacting any colleges that have waitlisted you, take some time to consider whether you still want to attend the school. Even if you do, you should enroll at your next choice school, because you don't know if you'll be accepted from the waitlist. If the college where you are waitlisted is no longer one of your top choices, you should write to withdraw your name from the waitlist, opening up a spot for another student who wishes to remain on the list.
But…DON’T take the term literally.
Sitting around and waiting to see if you get off the waitlist is not going to get you anywhere. If you decide that the school that waitlisted you is still your top choice, write a letter to your admissions representative before May 1 stating that if accepted you will definitely attend. Be upbeat in your approach and include a paragraph explaining how you see yourself at this school, including the courses you would like to take, the professors you want to study/research with, and the activities you would participate in. Show how you would enhance the school community. This should be different from your supplemental essay and should highlight new or additional reasons that the school is a great fit for you academically and socially.
Have any other suggestions for recent admits? Tips on how to handle a denial? Tell us in the comments below.