I don’t think anyone would use the term “chill” to describe the time period between mid March and mid April, a month filled with huge anticipation, fantastic excitement, and sadly, almost certain disappointment for most high school seniors. You’re starting to hear back from schools, you’ve heard from some already, more are on the way, and you’re probably freaking out (I realize as I type this that a lot of my blog posts are about freaking out-- I guess you know what kind of person I was in high school). This blog post is dedicated to the three most important pieces of advice I can give you to help you get through the next month of college decisions.
Celebrate every victory. My college counselor, Sara Kratzok at Collegewise in Newton, MA, told me this one about this time last year, and I immediately knew she was 100% right. You apply to “safety” schools for a reason, because you know for sure that you’ll be able to attend school there, if, worst comes to worst, you aren’t admitted to your other match or reach schools. But that doesn’t mean admittance to your “safety” school isn’t a huge accomplishment, or something to be very proud of. You just got into college. That’s crazy. Give yourself a pat on the back, because you really, really deserve it. No success is too small to smile about, and it will make the whole process much more enjoyable.
Forgive yourself for goals that you didn’t reach. Inevitably, you will face some sort of disappointment in the college application process, even if it’s very minor. You’ll probably be tempted to say, “Oh, maybe I would have gotten in here if I had taken the SATs again and gotten 30 points higher on math,” or “If I had gotten that A- in sophomore English instead of the B+, maybe I would have gotten in off the waitlist there”. My point is, there are a million things that could have gone differently in your past, both academic and non-academic, but they didn’t go differently-- they went exactly the way that they went, and they have brought you to this very moment. All of your accomplishments, which you should be very, very proud of, have carried you here and given you the opportunity you have. Beating yourself up for things you can’t change (and, honestly, things that probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference) isn’t healthy, and you don’t deserve it! Rejoice in all that you’ve done and be proud of where you are.
Finally, please, please, be considerate of others. I know I’ve just told you to celebrate every victory, but it is incredibly important to do so tactfully, respectfully, and while keeping the hearts of those around you in mind. All of your classmates are going through exactly what you’re going through, and every time you hurt, there’s a good chance there’s something they’re hurting about too. Check in with your friends. Provide support for people who need it. Maintain a “we’re all in this together” mindset rather than a “me against the world” mindset. Be sure to distinguish between sharing your future plans and bragging about your accomplishments. Humans are delicate creatures, and this is an insane process, so use your judgement-- be as positive and supportive as you can. It just might help someone who’s going in a positive direction continue on the road to positivity.
Those are my top three tips, and I hope they help. Good news is coming your way, in some way, shape, or form. YOU ARE A STAR! Good luck, stay positive, and stay curious.