The deadlines have passed as has (hopefully) the flurry of panic that accompanies them. The rush is over, and now you wait. It’s a nebulous, limbo-like time that can feel uncomfortable for those of you who thrive on concrete action items. If that’s you, here are my recommendations for what to do (and NOT do) between now and decision release.
DO: Live your life. Remember all of those things that are NOT applying to college? Like your pets, your family, that class you love, the musical you’re practicing kick lines for, the friends you’ll stop seeing every day at the end of the year? Those things, the huge and minor and basic and insignificant and fabulous things, are your REAL life. The college process is on hold until all the offers are on the table, so take this beautiful moment to focus on everything else.
DO: Make sure your midyear grades are submitted.
DO NOT: Bother your guidance or counseling office about your midyear grades before they even exist. We know this item generally isn’t available by or around the deadline, and we expect to continue processing them through committee in March. So, until it’s time, leave those poor people alone.
DO: Respond to requests from admissions offices. Watch your email for notices about missing credentials, a need for additional information, and requests from alumni to arrange interviews (Note: our alums will be reaching out through February to set these up. If you haven't heard back yet, sit tight!).
DO: Check your spam/junk folder. Important emails (see above) go there sometimes.
DO NOT: Email with questions A.) you can answer yourself or B.) don’t really matter right now. This is not the time for seniors to send complicated queries about whether or not the drama department would approve a month long performance art piece where you live in a giant spider web as an independent study for credit. When decisions go out, we are happy to work through that level of minutia with our admitted students. But if the question you're asking isn’t urgent, please be nice to us and save it for later. We’re working through more than 80,500+ essays right now, and we'd also like to sleep, shower, and see our families from time to time.
DO: Email a quick update if there’s anything new to report. Unless something significant has changed, emails like this are not entirely necessary and rarely add something substantive to the review process. That said, it’s not hard for us to add them to a file, and it seems to soothe the nerves of anxious seniors who simply must do SOMETHING.
DO NOT: Be offended if we respond slowly, or (if your email didn't contain a question) not at all. It’s not that we don’t care; it’s just that we’re human and, in the midst of working 10 hour days 7 days a week, we need to streamline. There is no hidden meaning if an email that doesn’t contain questions doesn’t receive an answer, and you can bet we took the half-second required to add it to your file so the committee can see it in March.
DO: Continue getting to know who you are and who you want to become. Self-awareness should have been helpful when making your list, and is even more valuable when coming to a final decision in the spring. Reflection is important.
DO: Yoga. It’s good for you.
DO: Ice cream sundaes, all the time. They’re bad for you, but your metabolism will only get worse as you get older. Live it up while you still can.