For prospective college students, the process of applying to colleges can be very lengthy and time-consuming. From narrowing down your applications, writing your college essay, touring colleges, and much more, your college application process can span over a period of a year or even more. Having applied to college more than three years ago, I still vividly remember how much time and effort went into my applications. I wanted everything to be perfect, and this was the only chance I had to make a good impression on these colleges.
While admittedly I was pretty stressed out during the majority of the process, I still remember how freeing it was to finally hit the submit button on the Common Application. From that point on all I had to do was wait to hear back from all the schools I had applied to.
If you applied early action, you are likely also playing the waiting game at the moment, which can easily make your mind race and your anxiety spike. Take it from me, this should be a time to destress and be proud of all the hard work you have done to get to this point. You should not be spending it a nervous wreck like I did!
To help with the waiting process, today we will be addressing five things that you can do now that you have applied to college to not only keep the decision process going, but also to prevent yourself from stressing too much while you wait.
How to Keep the Decision Process Going
Keep checking your student status page to make sure you have submitted everything necessary
It is really important to keep up to date with your student status page to make sure you are not missing anything necessary to continue this process. While I do not suggest triple checking your portal every day, simply keeping up to date with your emails and student status portal can help ensure that you are not missing any needed documents. If you are, by being diligent, you will be able to quickly resolve the issue and keep moving forward in the process without any major bumps in the road.
Keep your grades up
Simply applying to colleges and getting accepted does not mean that you should let your grades slip in your final year of high school. Take it from me, it is so tempting to goof off and just enjoy your final months of high school before college. The reality is that while you may want to just have fun, admissions offices still require you to submit your final transcripts. It is best to show these colleges that you can keep up your grades and are not slacking off, putting you on the right path before you even set foot in college.
It is also important to keep up with your AP exams and classes if you are taking any. Depending on what score you received on the exam, you can get college credits before even entering UMass, which can save you a lot of time and money. AP exams are a great way to not only receive college credit but potentially knock out some of your required classes, like gen eds, before even entering college. No matter what, it is extremely important that you keep up your grades as you wait to hear back from the colleges you have applied to.
Keep communications open with schools you are considering
Even if you have already gone to events with all the schools you have applied to it is extremely important that you keep your decision process going once you are admitted! Reach out to the advisor in your major with questions, connect with other admitted students at the school, and be sure to attend events the schools are holding - whether virtual or in person. I vividly remember how excited and giddy I was when I visited UMass once I knew I was admitted (granted things are different in 2021, so virtually visit if you must!). You want to get a fresh perspective of the school that can help you narrow down your decision between colleges. Choosing the place where you will spend your college years is a decision worth the time to get it right!
How to Prevent Unneeded Stress as You Wait
Spend time with your friends and family
When I was beyond stressed out and overthinking everything while waiting to hear back from colleges, my friends and family truly pulled be out of my rut and continuously reminded me how much they loved and supported me. Spending time with my loved ones was not only highly therapeutic, but gave me an outlet to relax and push the thought of college out of my mind for a moment. While I was so excited for this new journey in my life, I also knew that it was not healthy to constantly keep stressing out about where I was going to end up. Please use this waiting opportunity to spend time with those you love. With such big change likely coming into your life in the next few months, it is so important to cherish those around you and make wonderful lasting memories before you embark on this next chapter.
Do things that you love
Does playing video games make you happy? What about hanging out with your friends? Maybe going to the mall or your favorite ice cream shop is more of your cup of tea. Whatever it is that brings you joy, please surround yourself with it as you wait. I firmly believe that taking care of your mental health is equally, if not more, important than keeping up with your academics during this waiting process. Waiting to hear back if you have gotten into your dream school can be such a draining wait that it can make you feel as though you have little control over your future. Ultimately, no matter what the outcome, I truly believe that things happen for a reason and that you will end up at the right college for you even if you do not feel that way during the waiting process. By surrounding yourself with activities and people that you love, you can take your mind off the waiting process and simply live in the moment. Doing what you love is not only highly therapeutic but can help speed up the waiting process — it will be over before you know it.