Waiting for College Decisions

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By Maureen Delaney

As the results from early decision applications arrive from colleges and universities, remember to stay balanced and positive. Enthusiasm endures when backed with a good plan. 

If you’ve received a positive response to your ED application, congratulations on your acceptance! Enjoy sharing your good news with friends and family during the holidays. Keep in mind, though, that you need to continue to engage your strengths: focus, flexibility and positive action. Stay committed to finishing high school strong. Your efforts will keep you headed in a positive direction that will carry over into your undergraduate years. 

The reality of early decision results for many other students, however, is more complicated. If you’ve received a deferral to the regular admissions cycle, stay calm and committed to the process. Keep your plan in motion. Being deferred may be unsettling, but it isn’t a denial, and there are ways to push ahead. Is your ED school still your top choice? If so, write a letter to the admissions committee to confirm your continuing interest and restate your commitment to attend. Include updated information such as grades or scores. Proofread and polish essays, visit the campus, or ask for an additional recommendation letter if this would add new information to your file. 

If you did not find a match in an early application, initiate your plan B by putting into motion a fresh strategy. Be proactive. Engage your high school counselor or educational planner for support, and consult with your trusted advisors regarding your list of potential schools. Formulate a new plan. Revisit your priorities and review your current school options to determine whether your choices are still a good match for you. At the same time, be realistic about your chances of admittance. 

Be clear on the tasks at hand with regard to admission requirements; make sure to meet all of the requests. Update scores, review your essays once more and consider updating your recommendations. Finalize your applications for the December/January (or later) deadlines. Will you apply to an ED II program? Take the time to polish and edit your applications before the New Year. 

In addition, keep your grades strong, because your second semester senior transcript will arrive to colleges mid-winter. This is the time to engage your best decision-making skills by revising your college plan and finishing the first semester of senior year with a sense of victory!

The college admission process is longer for some than for others, but the length of the race is not really what counts. Stay positive and focused on what you need to do to end with a good result because that result will prove to be the best place for you.