December 10 2015

How To Survive College Decision Season – The Early Decision Edition, by Rachel Brandes


Whether you are a high school senior or you are a junior preparing yourself for the college application process, this time of the year can be quite crucial.

With college decision season coming around the corner, a mix of excitement and nerves is in the air.

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Some high school seniors are counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until their decisions come out. And others are doing anything to distract themselves from the thought of their awaited decision. Both are completely normal.

Last year I was in the exact same shoes as many of you are now. Although many people choose not to apply early action or early decision to any schools, I chose the early action route.

As it got closer to the day I was going to find out my decision I grew extremely restless. A majority of my sleeping and waking thoughts were centered on finding out my college decision.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 4.08.53 PMIf you can’t get your mind off the date and time your decision is going to be released, you are not alone. It’s safe to say that I know exactly what its like to be anxious about this decision. My best advice is to step back, take a deep breath, and know that at the end of the day what’s meant to be will work itself out. While you await your decision, there is nothing to do but let it happen. Enjoy senior year, spend time with your friends, and let everything fall into place.

So, what do you do after you get your decision?

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Acceptance… often communicated via an online message or via the famous “fat envelope”, an acceptance is reason for celebration. All your hard work has finally paid off, so enjoy the moment, because it only comes once in a lifetime. If you get accepted to multiple schools early action, non-binding, take some time to re-visit the schools and find the perfect fit…. That being said, the best part of being accepted early decision is that you are officially done with the process! As if tuition wasn’t enough, the second best part about being accepted is all the college apparel shopping. You can finally rep your college apparel around school and be that “cool senior” (see my obsession below).

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Deferral… don’t let yourself get too down if this is the decision you receive! Although this may not be the most ideal situation, it’s not a “no”! If you receive a deferral it is really important to show interest. Emailing your towns rep or writing a letter to the school will help separate you from those who don’t actually care that much. Also make sure you continue to work just as hard as you did before you submitted your application! Most deferrals require you to submit mid year grades. Finish first semester strong and then you can enjoy second semester knowing you tried your hardest.

And now for the dreaded “R” word…

Rejection… Although “rejection sucks” it is really important to look at the bright side of the situation. Nobody enjoys the feeling of getting rejected, but do you really want to go to school that doesn’t want you? It’s much easier to be upset about the situation, and giving yourself time to do so is completely okay, but do remember that everything happens for a reason and there’s a school for everyone. After you give yourself time to be upset, try to pick yourself up and focus on learning more about the other schools you have applied to.

Tip 1: Senior year a lot of people get caught up in the name of the school they are going to, what other people are going to think, and making the ultimate college decision “Facebook status”. Take a step back from all of the hype and think about what will truly make you happy and the school that’s the best fit for you. You don’t want to be miserable at a school that’s too competitive for you, but you do want a comfortable community where you will able to thrive.

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Tip 2: Being deferred or rejected is a great opportunity to add a few more safety schools to your list! You may find that there are amazing schools and programs that you hadn’t considered previously.

In my next article, I’ll give you the inside scoop on the dos and don’ts of finding a roommate and attending college meet-ups… the best is yet to come.

Read more about starting college:

The Confident Girl’s Guide to Being A Freshman – 6 Things I Wish I Knew by Emma Bernstein

No I Do Not Know What I Want To Do With My Life by Carly Kahan

Meet Rachel:

unnamed-7My name is Rachel Brandes- I am from Port Washington, New York and am a freshman at the University of Michigan. The way to my heart is sushi or chocolate. In my spare time you can find me baking, running, or watching the sunset. My best tip is to smile always and live each day like it’s your last

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